Eternal Color

 
 Melissa Carmon with her portrait series, Eternal Color: Stories of Saints from Antiquity.  These twice-life-sized portraits explore the individuality and impact of these twelve historical figures through portraiture, poetry, and music. 

Melissa Carmon with her portrait series, Eternal Color: Stories of Saints from Antiquity.  These twice-life-sized portraits explore the individuality and impact of these twelve historical figures through portraiture, poetry, and music. 

I found it odd that in the annals of history, certain individuals had somehow avoided being buried by the suffocating dust of time.  One of my many hobbies is genealogical research, mainly because I find it fascinating to unearth lost stories.   For most of us, it's hard for our names to survive more than a century or two with any more robust information about us than a name, a birth date, a marriage date, and a date and place of death.  For a few individuals-- through great military feats or though some other means-- their stories have been passed down, mulled over, and preserved for over a millennium.  That interested me.  

PORTRAITS & POETRY

Click on each portrait to read the poem for each

There are a couple of threads that all came together for me with this series-- the question of what is really "real," or what really matters in life, and the question of what it means to be human, with the full "color gamut" of temperament, emotion, and diversity of gifting.  Eternal Color: Stories of Saints from Antiquity was how I chose to pursue the themes together. And of course, there is color.  I came to some transformative breakthroughs in both my portrait process and in understanding color theory while making this work.  In addition, each painting has a poem that goes with it, and an improvisational piece of classically-inspired jazz music performed by the Inspire Duo.


Portraits & music

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Portraits & color theory

I am fond of looking for intersections between things that might not ordinarily be paired together.  The series went through several iterations before I was satisfied with the stylistic choices.  I knew I wanted the portraits to be saturated with color.  Here was the progression from idea to end point: 

Prototypes for the Saints Series

Above: The models for the Saints series.  This series was an attempt to create pictures of the Saints that were saturated with color.  However, the portraits leaned too heavily to the contemporary side, and I wanted to capture something in between contemporary and historical.  The models here may be recognized in the portraits of St. Ephrem, St. Basil the Great, St. Felicitas, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus.  

Early Color Studies for the Saints Series

The breakthroughs in color work came near the end of the series.  The new revelations I had about color launched a series of abstract paintings, devoted solely to studying color, which can be viewed here: Abstract Paintings based on Color Theory. 

For inquiries about the availability of this work please feel free to contact me.  Someone from my studio will be in touch with you within 24 hours. 

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Melissa Carmon