Halo | Fiona J. Williams | Expressionist Portrait
It’s as if the subject realized something important mid-conversation, her wide eyes saying everything while her mouth is shut. She’s far away in another place. But actually, it’s the inner world of her mind hard at work. You can see it from the creepy and angry looking shadow of another face at the top of her head, looking at us with displeasure from the sharpness of the eyes and the frowning expression. Fiona has cleverly interwoven two mediums to add texture to the painting. Acrylic paint to represent the physical nature and watercolours to highlight the turbulent inner emotions of the subject’s face. Grey is a fitting colour to describe her impression and internal feelings.
Her face is almost colourless– monochrome tones to the otherwise colourfully bold portrait. The scribble-like, almost unfinished essence to the woman’s face is a contrast to the richness of her red clothing, deep navy blue and jewellery? Encrusted hijab and fiery halo-esque background.
The halo is a significant iconography in many of the world’s religions used to demonstrate the nature of holy and sacred figures. There are different versions of a halo/ source of light. In Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, you see a circular disc on top of a religious figure, often golden in colour, or a flame shaped halo, surrounding the whole body in Asian art. No matter the religion, the meaning of halo is universal.
The painting has an essence of a Byzantine mosaic work of art. A style that has always interwoven Eastern and Western art styles. Could the vast red and orange halo with the yellowish flecks of green swirls enveloping the subject, perhaps be an expression of the existential meanings of her feelings playing out in real life? Fiona’s intention of using a halo is to evoke the subject’s internal thought process or energy that radiates from them. It’s also an acknowledgement that we are all externally linked to something bigger than us in the universe.
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