This painting depicts the goddess Hera who was married to the womaniser Zeus, once he turned his lover Lo into a cow to hide her from his wife hence the cow which appeared in a ghostly form in the early stages and I resisted the temptation to work on it more because I liked it like that. Hera gradually morphed into Marie Antoinette and I decided to go with it as I see Hera as similarly haughty and spoilt.
She has ‘ I love you but I hate you’ round her head because she was consumed with jealousy which made her quite vindictive. I have her holding a peacock which she is associated with, and a lily which symbolises innocence and purity as I see her as one of those women who keep up the appearance of being perfect and innocent. I was inspired by a painting by Robert Winthrop Chanler (swipe to see) that was my starting point for this painting so I wanted to have red in the background as a nod to that. Robert Winthrop Chanler isn’t very well known but he was a wonderfully bohemian American early 20th century artist which I’m coming to realise is the era I’m most drawn to at the moment.