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The Sensuous Medusa
By Karishma Hyder
I have been awed by Medusa for quite a while now. Medusa was not always a woman with hideous looks and heinous snaky-hair. Medusa was originally a lovely maiden with beautiful tresses who was a priestess in Athena’s temple, ‘the jealous aspiration of many suitors,’ until she was seduced by Poseidon, the ‘Lord of the Sea’ in Athena’s temple which infuriated the virgin goddess so much that she transformed Medusa’s beautiful locks to serpents and made her beautiful, angelic face so terrible to look at that any man who looked at her face would turn into stone.
Although, Medusa is supposed to be very terrible to look at, I still imagine her to be very beautiful and that is what I have wanted to capture in my drawing ever since I heard about her. However, the problem that I have had to face all of my drawing years is that I cannot draw from mind, I need a photograph or a model or a statue to base my drawings on. Hence, it was not till recently that I have come across the embodiment of the Medusa that I had pictured in my mind. It was a sculpture of Medusa by an unknown artist who was inspired by a1982 drawing from Peruvian Artist: Boris Vallejo. The figurine was very beautiful, the body sculpted with enormous amount of detail ended with a head full of serpents astray and a curiously beautiful face. I had to draw her!
Drawing the contours of her body was rather easy for me. The lines were smooth and could be drawn in single strokes. The thighs slightly rounded. The curve at the small of the back concaved. The waist narrow and sculpted. The breasts high. The outline was drawn in a matter of a few minutes.
Putting some detail on the breasts needed some consideration before getting to the actual task of drawing the areolas. I enjoyed drawing the line from the centre of her breast to the hollow of her beautiful long navel.
It was drawing her arms and face and those characteristic hair of hers that took most of my time. I spent some valuable time, but quite worth it I think, on the one single eye that is visible in the drawing. I also kept in mind that the right hand of Medusa needed some attention. Although the hand may seem to blend in with the serpents and may not catch the attention of the on looker at a first glance, it is there, and I prize her long fingers that appear next to her tresses. Drawing the outline of the snakes was easy. It was putting the details in them that was a bit tedious.
Once the structure was drawn, it was time for me to give depth to her hollows and mounds. I did this by playing with shadows and lights on her body by sketching with my 6B pencil. I tremendously enjoyed this part, the final stage of my drawing.
I do not know if others will agree, but I feel that my time spent in drawing Medusa was worth it and I find my version of medusa quite beautiful. However, I would not have been able to draw her if not for the sculpture.