Barbara Succo, Ladies of Willendorf

Barbara Succo, Ladies of Willendorf, mixed media, 60 x 71 cm, NFS 

VAM 33 artist Barbara Succo on her piece Ladies of Willendorf

The Story Behind the Ladies

This is the second piece in the series  entitled Eye of the Beholder. This series in its entirety will be shown at my studio/ gallery this Spring.
For years  I have been concerned with the number of women young and old, fixated with the unattainable, idealized media images of the female body.

In 1908, during railway construction, a tiny 11 cm statuette of an obese female figure was unearthed near Willendorf, Austria on the west bank of the river Danube. This figure was estimated to have been made between 22,000 B.C.E. and 21,0000 B.C.E . Scholars interpreted the figure as a fertility symbol, so dubbed it “Venus.”

In this series of Acrylic/ Collages, I paint often naked women “JOYFULLY” celebrating their full-figured bodies, taking the “Venus of Willendorf ” as their personal symbol.

Creating Ladies of Willendorf

The collage process itself is long and tedious. An initial drawing is made with a fine pencil on canvas. This can often take a week or two to complete as the end product hinges on the integrity of this drawing. The drawing is then traced onto tracing paper.

Using a very sharp Exacto Knife, these tracings are used to cut out sections from large sheets of watercolour paper, previously painted with a variety of acrylic paint colours. Each cut-out  MUST have variations of shading and colour etc. representative of skin tones, hair, flooring, etc.

The back of each paper cut-out is brushed with matte acrylic-gel medium, then carefully brushed onto the canvas,following the lines of the original sketch. Touch-ups are needed on some details in order to tweak, faces, nails, tattoos etc. When all the pieces are in place, the entire canvas is brushed with acrylic medium gel to further ensure its permanence.

Needless to say, this a very time-consuming procedure often taking a month or more to complete however, the final product never fails to give me great satisfaction.

New Gallery

I am currently finishing the last painting in this particular series, as well as holding workshops and working to put the finishing touches on my new Gallery/Studio (a log cabin erected in 1827) in Norval, Ontario.

You can reach Barbara Succo at her studio 905 702 9630, or on her website

One thought on “Barbara Succo, Ladies of Willendorf

  1. Sherry Adlam Newton says:

    Hi there Barb! Bud told me to check out this site. I am impressed. He tells me you sold all your paintings, and now your studio is empty. I have been painting oils since 2004, I still do a few watercolours, but enjoy oils much more. I have sold a few but not as many as I would have liked. I would love to have seen some of your paintings. I do not frequent facebook often, but Bud said your daughter has posted some of your paintings there. Keep up the excellent work, it would be nice to see you some time. Sherry

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