Fallen Snow


Well-known member
I posted this painting in the thread on our "craziest" paintings... but I ought to post it here as well with a little more on the back story. Every 5 years teachers are required to take a set number of continuing education courses to maintain their licenses. I refuse to spend that time in education classes on classroom control taught by 25 year-old PhD. candidates who have never spent any time as teachers in an urban school district. Luckily, we are all allowed to take courses in our field of study. Thus, I've taken painting, drawing, ceramics, and art history classes.

In one of these classes, there was a cute young girl... 17 or 18 years old. She was a self-described "girly-girl". She was always dressed fashionably in designer dresses and shoes with a designer purse and a hairstyle that certainly involved a good deal of maintenance. She admitted to a love of art that was "girly": lots of pink, Victoria's Secret, Disney characters, etc... The professor suggested that creating art of real merit with the elements she embraced might be challenging. The gears in my head started going at once. I found myself thinking, could I employ such elements in such a manner that the end result wasn't "cutsie"?

My first thoughts were purely formal. I wanted to make a painting with a good amount of pink... and with candy stripes in the manner of the packages from Victoria's Secret... and Malley's Chocolate... a local chocolatier. I also found myself thinking of Boucher... especially his painting of Mademoisell O'Murphy... one of my true guilty pleasures:


But what should the theme be? Well, Disney, of course... and what character could be more pure and wholesome than Snow White.


Over the years, I've collected thousands of images saved to my computer. Beside endless images from Art History and thousands upon thousands of nudes for references saved by category ("standing", "sitting", "standing profile", etc...) I also collected a great many images relating to certain narrative themes: Greco Roman, Biblical, faerie tales, comic book characters, etc... I began working on my image of Snow White... nude or partially nude... to make her a bit "naughty". The image was of a single standing figure to the right. At a certain point, I felt it needed something else. For whatever reason, I was drawn to the pose of an old 1950s pinup in one of the classic pinup poses. In a single session, I added her to the work in progress:


My studio mate (yes, THAT one) asked me, "What is she doing?" "Why is she bent over". At the time I truly didn't know why. My imagery and narratives tend to evolve and reveal themselves to me over time... during the painting/drawing process. I started browsing through my images on the theme of Snow White and it quickly became clear to me that the girl in the pinup pose was the Evil Queen. As I went back to work on the painting, I gave the pinup girl the signature "widow's peak" and the high arched-eyebrows and wide-set eyes:

Fallen Snow-Stepmother1.jpg

But I still didn't know what was actually going on... what the pose of the character was all about. So I spent more time perusing images of Snow White... and then I stumbled upon this illustration:


I immediately thought, "Well of course! Now I know what the Queen is bent over!" I had to paint out Snow's hand and arm to a good extent in order to have her holding her bullwhip.

FallenSnow final.750.jpg

When I took the completed painting in to my class for critique one of the older (like my age) female students burst out laughing and went up and kissed the Queen on her ass!😄

27.a. Fallen Snow1.jpg

The gold halo suggested Snow was a saint (which she clearly isn't in my painting) ... but the gold also matched the gold in the Malley's Chocolates packages.


The halo was also one of the first to employ more complex internal patterns... although these were limited to a repetition of smaller circles inside the halo as a whole.

Fallen Snow-Elvis and Snow.jpg

The painting took on an even "naughtier" or more suggestive aspect when it was hung on my studio wall without much space between it and the standing Elvis.😜

Snow White remains a theme that remains on the back-burner... one I will likely explore again. Maybe it is time for another slightly silly painting.
David you do great work in pastels. I can't believe how much work must be in these at this size. (y)
I have seen these before and they are still really good pieces. I love your pastel techniques and backgrounds especially.