Everybody who knows me well knows that one of my greatest artistic influences is the Romantic Movement with an emphasis on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Not only that, but I am not alone in my admiration and adoration of this cast of real life historical characters and their art. I first heard about them not in art history class, but at a small fantasy convention in Minneapolis. Terry Windling was giving a talk on them, their creed and creativity sparked my imagination and embedded itself in my subconscious. I was hooked.
So off the the library I went, back in the day before the internet was alive. I sought out every book I could find about these artists, and I poured over every painting. As I learned about their lives and loves, their passion for art and literature, I became entranced with them all. But one artist stood out for me: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, oil painter, watercolorist, poet and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
They all loved to paint redheads, and it became quite the fashion, picked up by other artists such as Waterhouse. Being a redhead myself, I saw myself in their paintings, part of an Arthurian Myth, or as a Goddess of old. The skillful renderings humble me, I can only hope to be that good someday. As I emerged from my pile of books, I encountered other artists, just like me who loved the PRB. My dear friend Denise Garner and I spent many an hour discussing these dreamers, and we dreamed our own dreams on the long drive to GenCon, and playing fun art games to pass the time.
It was after studying some traditional painting techniques that I was commissioned to create an oil version of a watercolor I did in art school paying homage to Rossetti. The result was La Bella Rosa, an Italian sounding name to honor Dante. Like the drawing of DGR pictured above, La Bella Rosa is a self portrait, me in 2001. The nature of art is to build upon the images you see with the images you imagine and discover yourself in the process. I am still discovering myself and my many faces as I create not only art, but a record of my inspirations here in this blog.
Writing this post put me in touch with a wonderful website: The Rossetti Archive, a treasure trove of everything a Rossetti lover could ever want. My own archive lives in my heart after years of reading and sharing with other artists my admiration for this artist and the movement he founded.