Congratulations to our October artist of the month, Yael Maimon! She was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine’s 30th Annual Art Competition. Her fairytale-inspired painting, One Way Ticket to Wonderland, is below. Keep scrolling to see what Maimon has to say about art and life.
Ashkelon, Israel ~ www.yaelmaimon.com
One Way Ticket to Wonderland is part of a new series I’ve been working on, a series I call “Once Upon a Time.” This is a magical, figurative series inspired by fables, fairytales and other genres of children’s literature. When I was a child I used to love drawing images from children’s books; I still do. My favorite character has always been Alice (in Wonderland). In this portrait of Alice, I tried to capture her emotional state in a chaotic reality. Alice finds herself in a world ruled by nonsense and chaos, quite a frightening world. I love Alice’s spirit, trying to make her way or find her way in this strange, half-mad world. Although she often finds herself lost and frustrated, she keeps going forward, trying to face the challenges and confronting impossible situations.
I worked on this painting in one golden afternoon. The greatest challenge in this painting was capturing the true essence of Alice while giving my own interpretation to her character. I worked and worked on her face until I got exactly the expression I wanted. Another challenge was creating the right mood and the sense of drama and mystery. I like to put something together that’s unusual and unexpected so, in my paintings, I sometimes take the fantastic character and place her in a modern situation such as a cityscape.
Using my reference photo for general direction, I planned my theme, composition and value range. Then, I drew directly on a Sennelier La Carte surface with vine charcoal. After making the sketch, I jumped in with pastels. I usually work all over the painting, but on this painting I first painted Alice, then worked on the background and finally got back to rework Alice’s expression. Creating strong contrasts enhanced the boldness of the colors and the sense of drama. When I felt I’d captured that magic of Alice, I just made some finishing touches, adjusting edges and adding pastel strokes here and there to increase the visual rhythm in the painting. I want my viewers to feel the magic and to enter a world of wonder. I also want to wake up the child inside them.
I paint in a variety of media including oil, pastel and watercolor. Although grounded in realism, my paintings are often expressionist in nature. I work with a lot of passion, imagination and intuition.
My future goal is to keep dreaming impossible dreams and then go forward and make them happen.