Commission in Memory of Carolyn Hunt
Artist description for “Window to Her Soul”
To honor the life of Carolyn Hunt
Commissioned by her daughter, Elizabeth
February 10, 2019
I did my best to capture Carolyn’s essence based on the beautiful collages Elizbeth assembled. Carolyn lived in NY as a fashion designer. I wanted to capture her confidence in her solid and soft demeanor that I noticed in the photos. I used the pattern of one of her favorite shirts and placed it on her black seek NY look with her flowing red scarf. Added to that ensemble are her favorite beautiful pearls. I captured her in her prime of life, full of confidence and the freshness of adventure. Her hair has a subtle high light of gold iridescent oil paint to create a halo effect reinforcing the angelic effect she had on people. Her favorite things are placed throughout the painting. Butterflies become the wallpaper, or if your imagination allows, flying around her in synchronicity. The cat is placed on the table as her faithful companion. The pinecones and flowers (the iris and calla lilies) adorn the table. The paintings in the background pay homage to her favorite wind-chime, the cows found on the family ranch and artwork. At the top left, is a hidden painting showing her love for art and all the ways she creatively expressed. The overall painting is done in the style of one of her favorite Matisse paintings. I placed the bust on the wall behind her to represent class and sophistication and to also give a nod to when she would design clothing in NY, so it has a double meaning. Kustov Klimt (another one of her favorites) is represented in the patterns at the top and the bottom of the painting. Finally, Elizabeth had a sweet picture of her and her mom in a lavender field that she showed me. The lavender on the table symbolizes the love Carolyn had for her family, children and gardening. Having the lavender tied together by a string, shows how her strong connection to the family created a spiritual bond that still holds them together. Purple also represents the crown chakra or spiritual center, and it represents how her love carries on through her family to this day. As I was admiring Carolyn’s rich visual history with her beloved family and in her creativity, I got a sense of her charm and grace. I realized that Elizabeth is carrying on the legacy of her beautiful mother by how she lives being present in the moment with an abundance of personal integrity. I feel truly honored to have been given the task of creating a memory to honor Carolyn, but even more so, I’m grateful to have gotten closer to Elizabeth in the process. My family had fun walking in and watching me paint the picture and helped me when I got stuck on a color or an element where I needed some feedback. My husband even said he would miss having the painting around when it was time for it to go to its new home.
Here is the visual progress of the painting (starting with the sketch then the underpainting and then the final):
The Color Pallet:
I chose a triple complementary color scheme to represent the richness of Carolyn. The red and the green represent heart and passion so it seemed fitting to surround Carolyn in those colors. Red and yellow represent good luck so it made sense to me to make her hair halo out of these colors. Blue an Orange create emphasis with the butterflies and a softening in the background using the tool of atmospheric perspective. The purple and yellow colors came in for emphasis with the borders and as a supporting dark tone. I mixed all of the colors from a limited pallet (means only using primaries and some secondaries). Overall, the colors were chosen to create an intense blend of opposites to show how art, much like life, give us memorable and strong emotional connections through tension and harmony.