|"Weeping Angel" by Tom Wills, graphite, June 2017.|
It is a work of art based upon the art of others — both in sculpture and photograph.
I like to work on challenging pieces during any down time from customer orders, as they keep me in practice and provide a backlog of work that I can offer for show or sale. That’s what has led to this, “The Weeping Angel,” perhaps the most difficult image that I have ever drawn.
The real name is definitely as creepy as my illustration of Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland’s most famous piece of graveside sculpture. “The Angel of Death Victorious” stands atop the grave of Francis Haserot and his family. It was sculpted in 1924 by Herman Matzen for the family that made its name in the institutional-sized canned good business. (You can occasionally see the Northern Haserot trucks on Ohio highways.)
Matzen studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin before immigrating to the United States. After moving first to Detroit he ultimately settled in Cleveland.
The angel holds an upside down torch, symbolizing a life extinguished. Time and the elements have streaked the bronze skin and caused the black tears of discoloration.
People make pilgrimages to the cemetery to seek the statue, which has its own Facebook community. Not necessary a pilgrimage but surely an adventure, my photographer friend Rebecca Nieminen ventured through the 285 acres to photograph the Angel and other tombs.
|Storyteller Photography: Images by Rebecca, Kinsman, Ohio|
It’s the second of her photos that I have drawn or painted; the first was also winged — a much less-frightening butterfly.
The face came first, as I wanted to be sure that I could capture the tears and the stony facial expression. But it is the wings that took the greatest time. Drawing those feathers of stained stone required several grades of pencils and lots of transitioning from light to dark. The best way to tackle the wings, in the end, was a migraine-inducing feather by feather process.
Once I had completed Victorious, I found that the angle of the image left far too much white space. I decided to add a vague background of trees, which had the effect of making the statue pop with greater clarity into the foreground.
The frame will have to be extra heavy and dark, preferably metal or vintage gothic. I have to seek one out.
We recently spent some time and money painting the rooms in our home, and relocating the art works throughout. But I’m told that this won’t be hanging in our dining room.
Still I find the angel fascinating and beautiful, in its own way, and I am very satisfied with the end result. To inquire about purchasing “Weeping Angel,” email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook.