Recently I discovered the sculptures of Francisco Zuniga and have been drawn to recapture what I love about them in the only mediums I have access to: watercolor and words.
My paintings, of course, don’t do them justice, nor do these photos of the originals, I imagine. But they are all I have to work with and share.
This first, called “Stooping Woman,” in white marble, was found in a book of his artwork. I love the luscious curves, the way the light and shadows play against the form to deepen the contours and highlight the delicate curve of her spine and hips—the way they glisten. And yet she seems soft enough to touch. You can imagine her unfolding herself, stretching her arms and stepping from the stool.
There’s almost an egg-like feel to the image, her folded over on herself like that, as if gathering herself downward and inward toward her essential being: round and solid, half-hidden, womb-like.
I decided to give her flesh tones and contrast that silky smoothness with a rough-textured background. She’s wrapped in a blue-green sea, although I kept her stool to keep her grounded. She’s not floating off anywhere. She knows what she’s doing.
The proportion isn’t quite right I’ve decided, the right hip not round enough. But aside from that I’m happy with the results. She says what I wanted her to say.
The second Zuniga sculpture I found on Pinterest when I was creating my “Mothers and Other Lovers” page. The stone here is rough and earthy, a warm reddish-brown. The baby looks soft enough to want to squeeze. This one has a more primitive feel, as seems appropriate for the Madonna theme.
I’m not as happy about my attempt to capture what I love about this image, as I was with the other. I wanted to show them within a cave-like setting, as if emerging from the darkness into light. And I let the mother’s hair sweep around to surround them. The blue and red geometric design was meant to lend it an iconic feel. But the “cave-like” part looks (and was) overworked, and parts of the figures look washed out, especially in this photo. I’ll probably work on it some more, or start fresh and try again.
Zuniga also worked in watercolor. Simple designs, mostly of indigenous women. If you’d like to learn more about his work, you can watch this short video.