The paintings of Soraya Bradley
- hope through beauty - the romantic realist paintings of artist, Soraya Bradley -
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Soraya's Journal

musings about art and life ...


Neptune's Daughter's

Neptune's Daughters by Soraya

Neptune’s Daughter’s is a curious piece for me, both in subject and composition. In this post I will take you inside some of my thought processes, so hopefully you have a greater insight to the work.

Firstly note how the lower figure is alert, perched, ready to leap up (in one of my early sketches she had wings) The lower figure is represented by a pearl (note the pearl ring). A pearl can be read as a symbol of purity and innocence, femininity and the moon. But I much prefer the earthier reading, a pearl is formed by sand getting into clam, it is beauty/wisdom achieved through pain. Overcoming adversity. When someones personality has developed through pain there is often a jumpy, on edge aspect to how they are. 

In comparison the higher figure is relaxed. She is resting on another, so her position is much more precarious, yet she is far more at ease. She trusts. Her symbol is a blue butterfly. While a butterfly has gone through a rebirth cycle, it represents a lightness of being. Joy, free spiritedness. The sun, the soul. Life is very short, but it is danced through. 

The lower figure is the anchor, yet because of her “ready to fly” stance, she creates a tension, if she does fly off, the other figure will collapse into the sea. The sea is another symbol in this piece. Even in evolutionary terms - we come from the sea. While we know it in the west as represented by Neptune - a male, instinctively, I have always found the sea more a feminine - maternal symbol. In jungian psychology the sea is collective unconscious.

Not often do I create duo’s. This piece is open ended.  Is it two people, similar at first glance but very different on closer observation or is it dual aspects of the same person. In each instance the final thing I will mention is the importance of the composition. A triangle. As someone who loves renaissance painting, I love a good triangular composition but for many years it just felt too old fashioned. Then I came across the work of Alex Kandinsky. Kandinsky uses triadic compositions so frequently, yet his work is so fresh, so modern. His work inspired me to revisit the classical triangle. 

Why is the triangle important here? An equilateral triangle is very stable (often boringly so) Yet I used it very specifically. Balance. These two figures form a triangle - the red of their dresses, one cool one warm merge into each other They hold each other, support each other, to create a stable form. The visual supports the symbolic. Balance between two opposing natures whether within one person or within a relationship, where nether is oppressing, controlling or dominating the other, but each can be stronger because of the other.