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Bill Mayer
New Directions, Little Experiments
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I have always been nervous about portraits. I draw from my head, so when SooJin called with this project, I thought it would be challenging. In the brief she said that “Joanne Segars, Chair of Pension Europe (PE), the association of workplace pensions in Europe, and the chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF).”  She was “crowned” chair of PE in November at a time of unprecedented change in the regulatory system in Europe and during the Eurozone in crisis. The new published headline works so perfectly... "Joanne Segars: Battle Ready For Europe."
 
My original idea was to do a royal portrait based on an old portrait of Queen Victoria, or one of those classic portraits. Joan of arc was really a second thought, but it was the direction SooJin liked. I wanted to do it in the style of a few little gouache paintings I had been experimenting with.
 I want to give credit for reference;
I used a Painting by Sir John Everett Millais of Joan of Arc painted in 1865 titled:"Joan of Arc" for reference in the armour. Some photos I took over the weekend in the mountains for the backgrounds...
 
Thank you SooJin for letting me do this little painting. You can see the weekend in the mountain served as inspiration for the background and the feel of the painting.
 Here are a few more of the little gouache drawings that I have been playing around with…
"The Industrialist"
Some old friends on Facebook kind of prodded me to do a version of Eustace Tilley's famous New Yorker cover, I thought it would be funny to do a kind of dark industrialist. I love crows so why not make him a crow as well. I love the limited color pallet. 
"The Mouse Widow"  
This was another moody little illustration. I was trying to use another animal head on a human figure like the goat headed lady. This one also in the snow but set in the ruins of an old abbey... Liked where these were going so try a few more...
"Bad Luck" 
The idea for this painting came for something I remember someone saying about southern women having "snakes under those petticoats" ...The idea that they are not quite as tame and gentle as people think they are. I took it to a more magical realism. a dreamlike scene of a figure walking through the forest and leaving a trail of snakes everywhere she walked. 
"Tinkerbelle"
The idea for this painting comes from an old book that Lee had found. "The White Bird" by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. It's the first place that Peter Pan appears. In the story he describes the fairies; clothed in leaf skeletons. They were not the sweet little visions that we think of. I want to try Tink again and maybe use some elements large to make her look small. The figure I used made for a kind of a campy pin-up instead of a fairy. This version of Tink became a bit more like a goddess of the KILL....
"Death Waits" 
actually the idea for this piece came from an email for my rep about a possible book cover for  "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The story surrounds the baffling double murder of Madame L'Espanaye and her daughter in the Rue Morgue, a fictional street in Paris. Newspaper accounts of the murder reveal that the mother's throat is so badly cut that her head is barely attached and the daughter, after being strangled, has been stuffed into the chimney  . The murder occurs in an inaccessible room on the fourth floor locked from the inside. Neighbors who hear the murder give contradictory accounts, each claiming that he heard the murderer speaking a different language. The speech was unclear, the witnesses say and they admit to not knowing the language they are claiming to have heard.
The publisher was looking for an existing piece to pick up, I said I could do a new illustration if they were interested... 
Detail of the gouache painting....
Nothing ever came of it. But I have this image in my head of death waiting on a rooftop . But I think it needed something to give it a little twist. Sort of seemed to need that little egde. But the weather's just too damn nice out so have to leave till later...


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