‘St3f’ (Painting 51)

I’ve had this idea for years. An idea that has become reality. Painting number 51. A (transformed) portrait of Australian model Stefania Ferrario.

I’m not being entirely truthful with my opening there. I did try something similar to this, with a digital painting, last year. When I abandoned my experiment with digital media, I removed all those works. Trust me, you haven’t missed much, but it was a wonderful period for creative exploration. In 2020 I wanted to revisit that concept, but I honestly didn’t feel confident enough giving it a real shot with actual paint, on actual cotton, until now.

Painting 51, ‘St3f’

I never wholly enjoy discussing my work. The more I talk about it, the more mysticism evaporates from it. In this case I do want to highlight something very specific, which is…why her? Why Stefania Ferrario? The world is abundant with beautiful women. So much so, it makes your head spin. So why her, specifically? Is there a particular reason? There is.

Before they switched to podcast network Luminary I use to quite frequently listen to a podcast called Guys We Fucked. During one of their episodes (important side note for later, I usually listened to these on my drive home from work) they had a guest, a woman called Stefania with an Australian accent (I initially didn’t catch her surname) – and during that podcast either one of the hosts would occasionally mention how stunning she was. They really addressed it too. For context, I don’t think I had heard them say this that often to any guest before. By the time I was home, the first thing I did after parking my car was look this woman up. I mean, she has to be spectacular, surely?

She was, and she is.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We all have our own perception of what can be regarded as ideal looks, or a rough idea of what perfection means to us, individually, and Stefania is that for me. If I had to write down on paper what would be my perfect woman from a visual standpoint only (not to say she might not also tick other boxes, but I’ve never met her), I would’ve described her.

It didn’t take long (as you now might imagine) before the portrait desire got stuck in my mind, considering I was most likely already painting by the time I listened to that particular GWF episode. To my delight, she even encourages it on her Patreon.
And so, here we are. Probably a year, almost two, later. A portrait, though not an exact portrait. A vision of mine. A combination of her gorgeousness and my taste for the abstract.

There is something to be said for those with the skill to paint or draw (hyper)realistic portraits, and I truly respect that, but I want to transform. I want to show you something you hopefully haven’t seen yet, and that is the reason why I put the ‘3’ in the title of this painting. The end result of my creation isn’t really her, not anymore, but the likeness is still there. Her essence is still there.

Which brings me to the end of my post. I hope she sees this some day, but for those reading this right now, I’m glad you are here as well. Thanks for your time.