"3 Graces: Thalia (flowering)" - section 2 of Triptych

Alice McMahon

Galena, United States

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Artist's Description

This work was featured in the groups 1 on 1: The Fine Art of Portraiture and Out of the Past.

Grace # 2 of 3 , Charcoal on Mylar film, 30×20” from the “Black Butterfly: The Muse” series. The 3 Graces: Aglaia (radiance) Euphrosyne (joy) Thalia (flowering) It was the poet Hesiod who named the Graces in his Theogony: “Then Eurynome, Ocean’s fair daughter, bore to Zeus the three Graces, all fair-cheeked, Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and shapely Thalia; their alluring eyes glance from under their brows, and from their eyelids drips desire that unstrings the limbs.”

From a reference photo by Rolling Stone magazine photographer Baron Wolman, groupie Sally Mann, San Francisco, Nov. 1968. (No relation to the photographer of the same name) Sally married Jefferson Airplane’s Spencer Dryden in 1970.

Here is a quote from Baron about the groupies:

“As concert promoter Bill Graham has given me all access to any of the concerts he produced, I spent quite a bit of time backstage with the bands, their roadies and their women. What fascinated me were the lengths to which the women, the groupies, went to prepare themselves for their backstage appearances. Because I also wanted an excuse to photograph them, I suggested to Jann they might make an interesting story. He agreed and Rolling Stone Magazine No. 27 became known as “the groupie issue.” It was widely promoted, read and commented upon, even turned into a book." -Baron Wolman

I saw these photos in an old book picked up at a resale shop. I fell in love with the groupies, and Baron was so gracious to allow me to use them for the drawings. The feminine effect of the references are enhanced with the flowers and butterflies. In this case, I decided to draw Sally holding the lilies, as she married soon after the photo was taken. It’s also about peace & love & hippie-ness, baby. :)

While the rest of the models I’ve used in the series are in the arts themselves, I was intrigued with the idea of groupies – and their intrigue with rock & roll artists of the late 1960’s. It seems to me they were using their own bodies and persona as an art form to attract their artistic “muses.”

I guess you could consider some of the works in my Black Butterfly series “Cover Tunes.” I believe the borrowed references are vital to the series to relate the idea of inspiration, and its relation to talent and celebrity. These “tunes” well deserve a stylish, honorable replay. Many thanks to the talented people who have loaned their vision of the muse to aid me in illustrating my ideas.

Artwork Comments

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  • Alice McMahon
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  • Rhinovangogh
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  • Clare Colins
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  • MoonSpiral
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  • catherine walker
  • Alice McMahon
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