The Twins: dual personalities, the dark with the light, the innocent mirroring the devious. Gemini souls can be two different people in one, and you never know which side you're going to get. They are versatile and curious, ready for fun, but prone to bouts of serious thought. I wanted to capture all of this using just one model, playing two parts. It was a long road to get to the destination here, including a fork separating two paths. By that I mean, I did a shoot for Gemini once, and then I changed my mind and did it all over again. So Gemini of me.
The first shoot was based on an angelic twin/wicked twin concept, with striking differences between each woman. The idea was to have one twin with dark hair and a natural look be the sweet one, and a blond twin with a glamorous make-up look to be the wild twin. Although I did have it in mind to do one of the signs as a self-portrait, it really didn't suit me, a textbook Pisces, to play Gemini. (Though I did marry one! But he's on the cusp and more of a Taurus...) Anyway, we were planning on using our trusty long blond wig, and I happen to have the same long hair, but it's jet black. So I used the interval timer on my camera and modelled both characters myself. Sharon created an amazing Gemini-inspired coiffure on Blondie, and I wore the wig after photographing myself with a complementary hairstyle Sharon had woven into my black tresses. The trouble was, I looked so different between the two looks, I felt I didn't look enough like twins, or even sisters. I put Gemini on the back burner for a bit, and came back to it later - and I'm so glad I decided to "scrap" all of that initial work (sorry, Sharon! Though we did save and re-use the hairstyle!) because I think that the final image for Gemini might now be my all-time favourite creation.
Introducing Katie! She's a beautiful soul (who happens to be a Scorpio!) full of inspiration and light. Katie is a talented creator and motivational speaker, and I knew her positive energy would lend magic to our project. Though I had only met Katie a handful of times before, (usually when I was purchasing pretty jewels from her!) and Kristen and Sharon had never met her, I knew the four of us would have a fun time on shoot day. We all got together one day in early October, and Sharon applied another lovely make-up look on our model, and she had already created a new, fantastical hairstyle using Blondie, so we weren't long getting ready. I have a gorgeous medieval-style linen chemise and corset I wanted to use for the costume, and I appointed Kristen the official Corset-Lacing Expert, a role she happily accepted, after admitting she'd never laced a corset before. She ended up creating a really neat criss-cross look that I hope to show off more in another type of set. I then tied an interesting scarf-necklace-cape type of garment I own around her shoulders, and we all literally gasped. Katie was transformed into a regal princess, as if we had encountered her in a castle long ago. We were ready to go out and shoot, and I had decided just minutes before that we would do this in the little park with the fountain right downtown in Tiverton. I hoped no one would be around... remember, I get paralyzing anxiety around people, especially if they're watching me work! We packed up the car. Obviously, it started to rain then. Obviously.
Arriving in 'downtown Tiverton' (this is a funny term to anyone who has actually been there), we realized it was lunch hour, and hundreds of people from local industries and businesses were wandering about, getting their lunches and running errands while we posed and photographed in the middle of town. Who knew? Many of them like to walk through the tiny park on their lunches. An audience we shall have, then. No problem. I was using a tripod, so my nervous shaking wouldn't be an issue.
With two amazing assistants helping, and only a couple of people looking at us askance, and me shifting the tripod accidentally only once, I managed to photograph my model in a few different poses and situations. Because she was playing two characters in the same frame, I had to be mindful of space and composition, so when I stitched two images together, they would match seamlessly. Katie was a marvellous model, and it's very likely I'll be working on more images from her shoot into the winter months. In fact, I've already released an "ah-side" image featuring only one Katie, which I love!
But THIS ONE, is one of my all-time favourite images ever.
I absolutely love the Pre-Raphaelite, Maxfield Parrish feel to this Gemini portrayal. Symbolism in this digital painting includes three butterflies - because Gemini is an air sign, and the third on the zodiac wheel. There's a Gemini symbol on the necklace pendant if you're able to look closely enough! Gemini is ruled by Mercury so I used a palette of colours inspired by the planet. The background in the main image is composed of scenery in the park, and a spot in a secluded forest that I adore, as well as some hand-painted elements. There is actually a chess board inlaid on that tabletop, and I'm still annoyed with myself for not bringing some beautiful carved chess pieces with us that day. Another time!
The "B-side" image is also gorgeous. I had Katie wrap a 'Shovava' winged scarf around herself in a few shots throughout the series, to symbolize flight and birds, because Gemini is an air sign. There's also a bee flying between the twins; he's just a little dot, but I couldn't just erase him, as he was very much part of the shoot. He thought we were all super interesting and sweet. I went with green hues because green is one of Gemini's lucky colours, and I appreciate the timelessness of the scenery and the fountain. You can also see the raindrops falling through the air, and dotting the stones around the twins. It looks like a magical spot in a faraway land... but mere steps away, trucks whizzed by and cell phones rang.
Katie performed so beautifully, I had to do at least one "ah-side", and it ended up being yet another of my all-time favourite fantasy pieces. I get a sense of oneness with nature and the little creatures of this land when I see Katie's soul, so I portrayed her as a Mother Nature archetype, surrounded by a forest alive with colour and wildlife. There's a ton to see in this image, and a small thumbnail on a screen will not do it justice!
A Gathering in the Garden
The winter months are long, and I'll be working on more single images from Katie's set as the snows settle in and I have some time for making magic. I invite you to come and see the images above in person - I'll be at InStyle salon downtown Kincardine on November 22nd from 6-9pm, and I'll bring my 2019 Stars of the Zodiac calendars and lots of the 4"x6" astrology prints. Later, I'll be at Artful Hands at the Kincardine Pavilion; November 30th from 6pm-9pm and December 1st from 10am-4pm, and I'll have the zodiac collection there, as well as a large selection of my landscapes, water scenes, sunsets, and more. Mark your calendars!
Don't want to risk me running out of these limited edition calendars before you get one? Contact me now!
GEMINI - May 21 - June 20
Model: Katie Wilken
Hairstyling, Makeup Artist, Assistant: Sharon Lytle
Assistant: Kristen Holloway
Photography, editing, wardrobe, concept: Sarah Chisholm
Dress and corset: ArmStreet
Wing scarf: Shovava