Also known as Grania and Grace O'Malley, Grainne Ni Mhaille served as her clan's unofficial leader in sixteenth century Ireland, along with pirating and running a shipping empire. Grainne dedicated herself to her people and their way of life, joining Ireland's fight for survival and solidarity against the English domination led by her nemesis, Queen Elizabeth I.
For a number of years I regularly attended a live nude model class at our local art center. My technique was to first make a black and white charcoal drawing on toned paper and then use that drawing along with the live model to create an oil painting.
One day, the model was posed standing proudly with a large dowel that she held like a spear. In my mind, I could see her as an Amazon warrior, standing guard on a bluff looking over her lands. I researched Amazonian legends focusing on one of their great queens, Penthesilia, and incorporated her supposed clothing, weapons and background into my painting. I had so much fun doing this that I began researching historic women of power, discovering many fascinating, yet mostly unknown, strong and influential female leaders of the past. This body of work became my "Warrior Women" series and are all created with this nude-to-warrior woman concept.
"Grainne Ni Mhaille" 27" x 16" oil on canvas