Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Muse - A Glimpse of Red

 I was sorting out my portfolio folder the other day and I noticed something quite significant about my work...the fact that I have repeatedly drawn or painted redheads as the main object in many of them. Now I don't really know why I do this, but I admit that I've always had a fascination with red hair. Being Asian born, as a child I had gotten used to the idea that normal people had very dark hair (except maybe some ladies with "yellow hair" that I had seen on TV. :)). So you can imagine how stunned I was the first time I saw a redhead in person. There was a mystical magical glow about it, and I was instantly bewitched.

 The Muse #1, watercolor & pencils on paper
(Original artwork available at The Wish Forest)

Some of my "redheads" over the years...

You may already noticed, but did you know that many famous artists of the past were in fact fixated by redheads? Some well known painters such as Gustav Klimt himself repeatedly used women with red hair as the main object of his masterpieces, and I just admire how beautifully he had captured the exoticism and mystique of his muses. These are some of my favorites...

 Mother and Child


Another painter I hugely admire in this case is Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Although very different in style and imagination from Klimt, he always managed to show his redhead fascination in a very subtle yet obvious way. He was even known to have a certain fixation on one of his lady friends, Jane Avril, who appeared in so many of his paintings.

 At the Moulin de la Galette

La Toilette

At the Moulin Rouge

So I suppose there are many ways an artist is inspired, whether through experience, objects, desires, people, literature or perhaps music? Whether they have lived the golden years or still climbing the steps like so many of us... Either way, inspiration thrives whichever way you look, and even the simplest things can help you create the most incredible piece of art.

What kind of inspiration have you had? Do you share my passion for red headed muses ? :)

Amalia, oxx


  1. ohhhhhh.. yes. my littlest 4 year old muse is a redhead! we know not from whence it came' but he sure does wear it well.. little golden glowing curls.. sooo precious! He just about gives all the old ladies a connuption in the supermarket! They all want to coo over his hair. When they say "oh what lovely red hair .he says " It's not red it's golden hair" hehe. I LOVE all your red haired sweet! it was fun to catch up with Klimt there again for a moment too! xxH

  2. I love painting redheads too - so much more exciting than brown and much easier to capture than blonde!

    Thanks for the walk through your art and some great masters today. Nice to have a think and ponder.

  3. first, & over & over,
    i LOVE your artwork.
    & second, i too am
    moved by red hair...
    i have mine colored red
    & have for sometime now!
    i've said that if i could
    strike a deal, i'd agree
    to have that be my base color!
    cheers, dear one, to all
    that inspires & lights us up!

  4. I married a red head so I also must have a soft spot for them! I wonder at Toulusse(?Spelling?)and his red head always from behind, tentative, an outsider.
    I'm am going to an exhibition next month in Melbourne and will see Klimts work 'in the flesh'. He is one of my most fave artists I'm so excited.

  5. I love Klimt's work, and yes, his redheads are stellar as he captures *that quality* that makes natural red hair so, well, glowing and nebulous! (notice I said natural, as I have been there totally unnatural and it is NOT the same!)
    What is it that is so beckoning?
    Love your work, and the red hair fits the creamy skin, eyes, etc.
    You're in good company! ;-)


  6. I've always thought the same thing about red hair, it has such a beautiful allure. It always looks beautiful in any artwork too, especially yours :) I can see these artists inspiration in your work!
    P.S. I like your banner :)

  7. Well, I'm sorry I can't answer your questions, because I'm not an artist and other things inspire me in my profession... But I would like to say how overjoyed I am to see these beautiful red headed girls of yours all together again! To be honest, I don't pay attention to the colour of the hair, but I remember how much I liked the little sorceress with the green hat exactly because of her hair!:)
    It was interesting to see the painters that inspire you and to admire their art pieces! By the way, I received Klimt's "Mother and child" on a card when my son was born. From a dear freind of mine. We both love to look at it!:)
    I hope you feel well, Amalia!xx

  8. Such lovely artwork, Amalia! There is something so alluring about red hair. When I was young, I actually HAD red hair - then it turned nearly black! LOL Klimt is one of my favorites. :)

  9. Amalia, hello~
    your redheads are beautiful and mystical, I love each of your pieces. My mother is a redhead. When I see redheads I always take note and enjoy.

  10. I've a thing for red hair too Amalia. I always reach for red, but make myself paint other colors too. I thought it was due to my grandson's red curls and the other red heads in our family. I think most people love red hair, or at least people comment on it quite frequently. I love your red headed freckled girls, they are often my favorites although I've two kids with jet black hair too and it can be just as dramatic as red. I'm visualizing one of your illustrations in particular with dark hair,that I love, now I'll have to go back and look her up ;)

  11. thats so interesting! I love red headed paintings too :) I tend to do a lot of brunettes. But I find that when I do shows, red headed girls just love paintings with red heads in them, and they sell really well! :) Lol, obviously, I need to make more ;) the Klimt painting of the detail of the mother and child is one of my absolute favorites.

  12. Hey bellyhugging Amalia ! Oh isn't life strange, your redheads have that luminous glow, you know, and I always thought they were you in different guises, but of course you know dark hair is really red underneath, it's like dark eyes have a layer of blue underneath, so we blue eyed people are really mutants! having lost two layers of pigment in our irises - see what you learn when you blog :)

    Your drawings are beautiful and serene and questioning. I love seeing Klimt and To lose the trek - his work is really interesting in real life, so thin and transparent he must have sloshed a lot of turps on his cardboard as well as in his intestinal tract, comes from being short.

    I once couldn't wait till summer for my hair to go blonde so I bleached it and didn't leave the stuff in for lon enough and ended up with orange hair for three months - hah that was a scream :)

    we call people here with red her 'tangas" - after orangutans .... some of them are quite beautiful, but they are the lucky ones, they get sunburnt easily bthough, so we never leave them in the yard too long :)

    see you I hope you are well!

    PS my muse was .....

  13. I like red hair as well. Somehow it looks so unique. I tried to color mine red, but it turned out brown..hehe. Those red haired girls (your illustration) are beautiful.


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