Real Women

   by Cynthia Frederick for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Two women running on the beach (The race)

Inspiration Artist: Pablo Picasso

**Please be sure to check out the video below for the full effect - and press the full-screen button at the right of the video tool bar for best viewing - enjoy!!

I cut the two female figures from the plywood, using a scroll saw. Details were carved into their figures using a small file. Their hair is made of the rope, dyed using india ink and then glued in place with the white glue. Their ears, and one nipple, are molded from the kit's clay, and painted. Their dresses, made from the included canvas, are molded and held in place with the white glue, and shaded with acrylic paint. Their facial and skin details, details in the "sand" and the background are all painted with acrylic paint. The two women are connected to one another with the hot glue. The "sand" is made from the hardwood panels, cut on the scroll saw and edge-sanded. The frame is made from the rest of the hardwood panels, finished with wood stain. The frame and canvas are held together with white glue, the "sand" is applied with hot glue, and the women are connected to the canvas panel with a spring made from the included coil of wire, some scrap hardwood panel pieces and then hot-glued together. The support is made from the hardwood blocks that came with the kit.

I chose the original piece because of the feeling of sheer joy and abandon it communicates. My version was meant to be a funny homage to Picasso, but during the process of making it, it took on a life and message of its own.

As I studied the details of the original in order to recreate them, each component became more symbolic. The simple garments, the flowing hair, the shy smile, and most especially the clasped hands, all took on greater meaning, and the sum of the parts added a complexity I didn't see when I first looked at the painting. When I was done with my version, it had become a statement I didn't foresee, about the struggle women face in reconciling their appearance with the idealized perfection that we see in the mass media.

These two women are totally at ease in their skins, full of life and unhampered by any conflict about appearance. They are emerging from a two-dimensional world, becoming three-dimensional in all their perfect imperfection, and simply happy in the moment, as they are.

I entered this contest just for fun, but it has totally exceeded my expectations. It has made me stretch, and think, and attempt something I've never done before. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Better yet, I am really proud of what I've created, and I can't wait for next year's challenge.