About the image:My book, A Peek at Bathsheba (narrated by Justin Harmer) includes a sighting of Bathsheba at the mouth of a cave, located just above the Kidron valley, near Jerusalem. I was inspired to paint the scene. My watercolor is homage to A Woman Bathing in a Stream, painted in 1655 by Rembrandt, immediately after he painted Bathsheba at Her Bath.
During the history of art, most artists portrayed Bathsheba as a fleshy, mature woman. They often placed her in a lush outdoor scenery, such as a royal garden, with flowing water or with a fountain. Spotting a forbidden woman in a setting reminiscent of the Garden of Eden is a tempting fantasy, and quite a departure from the biblical account, that states she was bathing on her roof. Artists go after their own heart—and so, indeed, do writers—to suggest the emotional essence of the story.
Rembrandt places his figure not in a garden, but in a cave with a pool of water, which is at once an outdoor and indoor scene (and in Bathsheba at Her Bath he presented her in an indoor scene, in her bedroom.)
Unlike paintings done by other artists—depicting Susanna and the Elders, Bathsheba, or the goddess Diana, who were all spied upon while bathing—this painting does not show the peeping man. Instead, Rembrandt supplants him by you, the viewer. Also, the woman in his painting is in control of the situation, rather than a victim of it.
Rembrandt worked mostly with a grays, browns, and blacks, setting objects back by plunging them into this dark tone, and bringing them forward by shining a bright light directly upon them, creating stark contrasts. The resulting image is sculptural in nature, and strikingly dramatic.
My watercolor painting is inspired by his art. It shares a similar spirit of intimacy, and maintains a loving respect for the model. It also illuminates my vision for the story.
I strive to maintain a sculptural feel for Bathsheba, but take the freedom to play with a splash of colors, so as to draw contrasts between cool and warm hues. I create a variety of textures, using a loose, spontaneous brushstroke. This I achieve by applying puddles of pigments over Yupo paper, which (unlike traditional watercolor paper) is non-absorbent. I let these puddles drip in some places, and in other places, I lift and shape them into careful designs, using various tools.
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