I was raised in New England and so I appreciate a good snowing-in.  Drifts up to your neck are something I grew up with and so the storm hysteria of the “Snowpocalypse” is just annoying and weird.  Its snow.  It happens around here.

snow willy Little house orange man

So I’m right happy just stoking the wood stove and hunkerin’ down on a painting that I’ve enjoyed wrestling with lately.  She’s a black queen elizabeth – or something like that.  I wanted to paint a sort of grand, epic portrait, on some old wooden shutters, of a queen. At one point I decided it needed a twist, maybe one that would address the racism and sexism still rampant in Amerika. A few hours into it I took this shot…

birth of a queen... carbon flowers

Its made up of three panels so in a way its a triptych, one of the few I’ve ever painted.  The collage that makes up her Elizabethan collar is pieced together from clippings of old drawings for monuments that my grandfather, father, brother, and I worked on over the decades at the shop on New Britain Avenue in Hartford, creating classical memorials in the area since 1870. The design would be drawn onto vellum and then redrawn with carbon paper beneath it to later transfer the image onto rubber sand-blast stencil – a crucial element in carving the name and decorative images into the granite. The rich purple color comes from the carbon, often being smeared around by my brush with clear gloss medium on it to past the clippings down. In the midst of another painting session I took these photos…

queen face develops early attempts at queen face

afro queen

By this point she grew a full-on fro which really sort of turned up the power of the image to another level. It now addresses the Black Nationalist movement and Blaxploitation culture of the latter half of the last century adding to the class shift and gender issues inherent in depicting a woman in an ultimate position of power. This issue is one of many that the planet is slowly waking up to – complete equality. Hope springs, at least.

I’m not finished yet but at the time of this post I’m working out the background collage placement, most of it is not glued down. I’ll post again when its finished.

sorting the queen's collage

Enjoy the snow – Zito

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