The girl offers her heart to the black jaguar.
The black jaguar replies: “Use that emotion for something useful – create some art!”
The girl has collected each one of her previously broken hearts in its own jar of formalin. Under the shelf where the jars are placed, the viewer can read the girl’s thoughts: “How many more heartbreaks on the shelf of my life? When will I ever learn?”
Colour palette: dark red, crimson, salmon, gold, yellow, black
Size of the original (digital file): 35.4 in x 27.6 in (90×70cm)
Technique: paper collage, photomanipulation and digital painting, using multiple textures from my own photo stock
Making of “Routine Heartbreak”
Here are some preliminary sketches of the artwork, as well as a short description of my procedure, for those who are interested to see how I create those effects.
- A normal photo is taken after a particular pose. The background is not completely neutral, but I use some of the elements and shadings for the final image, instead of a supplementary texture. The panther is added later. Both figures are progressively improved.
- Several elements are provisorily placed on the photo, namely the 8 jars of formalin containing the hearts (taken from a vintage drawing) as well as textures from 6 Egon Schiele’s paintings and drawings (skin, dress, hair etc, see below in the chapter “Textures and Material”).
- Textures and shades are added in the background to give the yellow tones and that Pompei wall effect. I later added a pink gradient behind the girl, to highlight the hair and body contours.
- The girl’s dress is painted red. The Egon Schiele fragments are adjusted in a way to fit together: same skin tones everywhere, even though the skin comes from 3 different paintings; the passage from one fragment to another must be invisible. The hands have rather red tones, because they are holding the heart. I removed the Egon Schiele mouth and eyes, because they expressed arrogance rather than pain.
- I made some slight changes to the jars of formalin and hearts so they don’t all seem alike (regularity is not always a virtue).
- The outlines are improved, for example the neck part, the face. I added a black contour to the girl and a red contour to the panther. Later I put a red “halo” both to the panther and the girl.
- The text of the girl is handwritten and scanned, then integrated into the image. The panther’s text is a collage of letters from an old note (I like that handwritting).
- I improve / paint / highlight many details. I make slight changes to the textures, namely removing the dark parts from the face, hands and legs, so that the skin is clearer and brighter.
- At the end, I made the girl’s left foot visible, so that a self-evident sexual interpretation of the encounter is excluded (the panther is not between her legs).
Textures and material of “Routine Heartbreak”
The black jaguar is a photo from my stock, taken in the Mexico City Zoo. The girl’s skin, hair and clothing are a mixture of fragments from 6 different Egon Schiele paintings and drawings I discovered during my latest travel to Vienna, complemented with some digitally painted parts:
- The girl’s dress was taken from the sheets in “Embrace” (1917), Österreichische Galerie, Vienna. The texture of the girl’s hair was taken from the same painting.
- Parts of the face were taken from Egon Schiele’s nude self-portrait (1911), Leopold Museum, Vienna
- The girl’s neck and the upper part of her dress were taken from Schiele’s “Devotion” (1913), Leopold Museum, Vienna
- The girl’s legs and arms were taken from Egon Schiele’s “Blind Mother” (1914), Leopold Museum, Vienna
- The girl’s right hand was taken from Egon Schiele’s “Erwin von Graff” portrait (1910), private collection.
- The girl’s left hand was taken from the baby in Egon Schiele’s “Dead Mother” (1910), Leopold Museum, Vienna.
Left to right, top to bottom: “Blind Mother”, “Devotion”, “Dead Mother”, “Erwin von Graff”, “Embrace”, “Nude Self-Portrait” by Egon Schiele