Carolyn Hancock

Sadness of the Lie, June 2020
Pastel on Paper
16 x 12 in
Almost 150 years ago, the Swan Lake love story was born. As I painted the black swan, I felt that the ballet’s underlying struggles of good versus bad, its restrictions and uncertainty, relate to our daily coronavirus news and conflicts.

Odile is the black swan who deceived the prince, costing him his love and his life. She looks away, emotionally concerned. Her expression is unsettled, wondering if she did the wrong thing. Her feathers leave her, floating, unsure whether they belong to her or to Odette, the white swan. The lighting is ambiguous: is it simply theatrical or is the dark centered on her for a reason.

The model for this painting performed slow, sequential ballet moves and poses. She was exquisite, perfectly tuned to the emotions of the Odile character. I enjoyed the chance to put her emotions into the story. My paintings are usually filled with color, but this storyline required neutrals.