Moving on to another scene of evil- ISIS hostage piece

Following my tutorial with James Green I have decided to look more into current events of evil, and this has led me to the current ISIS hostage beheading situation. I started looking at newspapers and the internet and after I typed it into google I was surprised at the horrific photos that came up, some of which showed the scene after the beheadings. I wasn’t going to use these as they were too terrible and really to obvious, I don’t want the evil to be obvious, I want the viewer to think and image. In the end I found a photo of the hostages in uniform in a series of rows posing for a photo. Here is the image below.


My first step with this image was to start drawing it on A1 paper. A1 is a size I have been using frequently, I feel it is a large enough size while not being to large to commit to. When I find a A1 paper that I am happy with I will paint it on a larger scale hopefully. The dominance of the colour orange is this piece is something that I found interesting, it seems like quite a strange colour to represent evil. Does it actually represent evil or obedience? One of the first things this reminded me of was a school photo. This sense of conformity and discipline is very much present. This is my outcome below.


In this piece I used the paint much more thickly, I wanted to exaggerate the uniform and dominance of the orange, as well as having some quite strong mark making. I didn’t put much detail into the faces of the hostages which was strange for me, I wanted to highlight the sense of this hostages being part of an evil regime, and the fact that they have to imply to survive. The intention behind the bold thick floor was simply to contrast with the hostages. In hindsight perhaps a similar, more diluted orange would have been more successful, it would have emphasized this sense of conformity. Something that was quite impulsive was how I layered quite a muddy wash of white spirit over the image. I wanted to suggest how there is some distance between the viewer and the hostages while at the same time recognising this element of horror. Overall I am reasonably pleased with this piece, I feel it has given me something to build upon. I feel like my paintings are improving steadily, which is what can be expected at this early stage of the year.

When someone seen this image they said it reminded them of Marlene Dumas. Dumas is an artist I have been previously very interested in. And I know exactly what paintings they meant.




Marlene Dumas’ portrait work is what I was mainly interested in, however her figurative work is really relevant to me at this stage. Particularly these school photo paintings. There is a real sense of conformity and that all is very similar. This in a sense is what I want to replicate.


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