Ophelia Lilting Lilies

I thought I would start the year out with a reminder to myself to really study work before it leaves the studio. I painted several pieces that are centered on my thoughts about Ophelia from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.  My goal was to work through the emotional bonds between Ophelia, her father, her family, and Hamlet and how these emotions must have been stretched and frayed and finally torn apart in this story. I as a daughter, can truly resonate with Ophelia as the father/ daughter bond is never more strong and never more fragile than when the daughter falls in love with someone for the first time.  All of this to say in this piece, I am thinking of how Ophelia must have felt as she began to drown.  The clenched fists emote not only the last mortal minutes, the fight to live, but the frustration of the knowledge of how no one can truly know your heart and understand you or vice versa.

This is painted with acrylics on a primed 48 x 36 x 2 inch deep panel.  I paint in layers. I started working in layers years ago and have never been able to leave this process. I firmly believe it leaves open the possibility of change at any time which I find consoling as I work. It also allows me to create color that otherwise I might never have found by mixing on a palette; as it allows through translucency the development of color that is both transparent and solid at the same time giving the illusion of dimensional space in the color as well as interesting tints and shades of color not found in ready made tubes.

I worked on this piece late last fall and had it up in my studio for a couple of months after I thought I was finished with it..but something never felt complete in the painting to me.  I just kept working on other paintings with it standing in the perimeter of the studio, and on occasion  I would put it on my easel and look at it.  I would think about it and then put it back around the edge of the room.  I found myself referring to things in this painting while working on other paintings. I would often flip it upside down, or on its side just to remove the content from it when I would glance at it. This painting although incomplete, was a an influential part of the next several pieces I worked on.  I found this rather surprising but a very welcome surprise and I highly recommend doing this with your work.  Here is how it sat for probably 8 weeks or more…Ophelia Lilting Lilies_2017_48x36_acrylic on wood_copyright Cathy Hegman smalwml (1 of 1)

Ophelia Lilting Lilies  stage one...

There was something very bold and colorful that I loved about it, it also had so much of the symbolism that I use in my work and that linked it solidly to my past work and to me.  It had all the makings of being a finished painting but somehow I felt it missed the mark.  It had the emotional charge I wanted it to have but it lacked unity in my mind.

After weeks of staring at this piece I finally put it up on the easel again, and after about and hour of putzing around in the studio on housekeeping chores, I began to work back into the painting.  I felt a relief in the beginning again on this painting, it was not going to be a paint out; but rather a finessing of sort and that alleviated a good bit of pressure. I determined over the course of all the gazing, glancing and looking that what I needed to do was to work at the edges and values.  I moved them back and forth until I felt as if there was no obvious delineation between a  foreground and background, I wanted this piece to be an otherworldly piece, something new. I wanted  the surface to appear textural while also being quite flat.  Here is how it ended up, I am fairly happy with it now; but again, it will sit in the periphery for a while before I decide to send it out into the world.

Ophelia Lilting Lilies_2018-_48x36x2_acrylic on panel_copyright Cathy Hegman smallwm (1 of 1)

Ophelia Lilting Lilies by Cathy Hegman


Happy 2018 to everyone! I am grateful to you for taking the time to read my blog and it is my greatest wish that it inspires you and encourages you to be persistent and unwavering in your work.  I have yet to find the secret of painting, but I have had  a large number of years searching and struggling to find it, and perhaps that might be  real secret after all!


Take care,

Cathy Hegman


All content and images  in this blog are copyright protected and owned solely by Cathy Hegman. Please do not replicate or use the content or images without the artist’s permission.



About Cathy S. Hegman

Art, much like a road links people together both visually and mentally. One can attain a glimpse inside the artist’s soul by studying the artist’s work, and perhaps find something that links them to the artist and the art. A work of art has the ability to resonate and touch the emotions without regard to age, gender, race, or religion through the application of pigment to canvas or paper. Art can be the voice that cries out without limits, or sometimes whispers the thoughts of the creator. Art speaks silently, yet conjures up feelings and gives satisfaction that is undeniable, and yet intrinsic. It validates our need to learn about ourselves, and gives us freedom to search for our own identities. The road is long and often dusty, but always renewing the spirit with inspiration. It is my hope in this lifetime to give a part of what I have learned through and on my journey with others. The deepest form of us is revealed in our thoughts and my art is the translation of my thoughts to paper and canvas. I paint layers of color and line to create a history of marks that will guide the viewer into my world of thought and engage them in the process. I embed personal symbols throughout my art to give it deeper meaning. I encourage you to think about life in a visual way and to contemplate our connections with each other and the world we share.
This entry was posted in acrylic, americanwatercolorsociety, art, Art right outside my back door. The Big Sunflower River, Bennet Galleries, canvas, CarolRobinsonGallery, cathyhegman, female, figurative, figure, fine art, FischerGalleries, M2Gallery, NationalWatercolorSociety, painting, process, TewGalleries, Uncategorized, Watson MacCrae Gallery. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ophelia Lilting Lilies

  1. iv4SufWwtGYemH9MK5w3LXEnz+MUBYAJfEf5TGQv9jI= says:

    I found your work about a year or so ago and have been captivated by your figurative work ever since! Thank you for sharing your thought processes. I resonate with your love for textures and figurative work. I am a painter, too, and I am wondering if you would be willing to give me some feedback on a figurative piece I am working on. I actually signed it today, but am having reservations about calling it finished… you can relate! If you are willing to take a look, what is the best way for me to share a picture of it with you?
    Keep pressing on in your work! The world needs more of your insightful and beautiful paintings!
    Lori DeJong

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