*Note: The ‘Hope’ Leia T-shirt is no longer available on TeePublic.*
It’s been a little while since my last post and a lot has happened. I’ve been painting right along and working on commissions and such since my last post in November, I’m just horrible about updates on my site. Sorry!
Okay, so since my last post, the biggest thing that happened in my mind (aside from politics driving me mad) is the loss of our Princess and General… Carrie Fisher. Her heart attack in late December came as a shock. Those in the Star Wars community and beyond were all sending her healing thoughts, prayers, and words of hope for her recovery. We were hoping that she wouldn’t be one of the many celebrities taken from us in 2016. However, just when things seemed to be getting a bit better, Ms. Fisher passed away. When I got the news, I began crying – sobbing actually – over her passing. I didn’t know Ms. Fisher, but I grew up with her presence; she was like a member of the family. Everyone’s favorite quirky Aunt. I admired her. She was always honest, open, and blunt. She had a great sense of humor with an amazing talent for writing, and she was a strong woman who didn’t take any nonsense. Those qualities are something that I believe that I, along with many other women in my generation and younger, have kind of absorbed into our personalities from her example. Sure, she had some wild times during her younger days, and she struggled with her bi-polar and depression, just like many of the rest of us do. But I think that the main reason that she was so inspiring is that she continued on, she didn’t give up, and she didn’t hide it or shy away from it. She accepted it as part of who she was. Which is an example that I think lends itself to Hope.
Re-winding back to 2015, I had started a Princess Leia painting in August. I was creating a time-lapsed video series of the piece being created for demonstration purposes of my painting process. Anyhow, I had taken a screenshot of Leia and decided to post it to Twitter….
— JennDePaolaArt🎨 (@JennDePaola) August 25, 2015
And to my surprise, Ms. Fisher saw it and Favorited it! Yes, I know I tagged her in it, but you hardly ever expect for celebrities to actually see all of their notifications. They get so many that I just assumed that mine would get lost in the shuffle of things, but I still wanted to attempt to show her. Anyhow, time went on, I finished most of the video series, but I had other projects and commissions that demanded my time and that portrait of Princess Leia had been put on the back-burner.
Now, fast-forward to the day after Carrie’s passing, and we also lost her mother, Debbie Reynolds. I was, and still am, truly heartbroken over this – I can’t even imagine what Todd Fisher, Billy Lourd, and the rest of their family have gone through. I just know that the rest of the world’s hearts were breaking right along with them. I knew that Carrie and her mother, Debbie, were very close. I kind of see a bit of my relationship with my Mother and Grandmother there also, so it hit doubly hard for me. Two icons lost in the span of a day. My heart ached with sadness that week, right along with the rest of their family, friends, and fans.
As a way to channel that grief, I felt that it was time to go back to the portrait of Leia that I had begun in 2015, and finish it as a tribute to Carrie. Being an artist, I am motivated by my emotions, and there were lots of emotions for me to work through. I wanted a title for this piece also, and given that I had recently seen Rogue One with the reprisal of Leia and her message of “Hope” – I just felt that the title of Hope would fit the piece nicely and serve as a reminder of Carrie’s personality and character to persevere in the face of opposition.
The piece changed a bit from its original concept design, but I think that it possibly turned out better than I had originally planned. The symbol in the top center is the Royal symbol of Alderaan, Leia Organa’s home planet that was destroyed by the Death Star in Star Wars A New Hope. I always felt that the symbol lent itself to an Art Nouveau style, so that inspired to rest of the piece. And of course the Rebel symbols encircling behind her, reminding us all that she was part of the Rebel Alliance. I also wanted to convey a bit of Bespin and Cloud City, seen in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back, since her hairstyle and outfit/costume is from that portion of the film. And lastly, Hope, spelled beneath her to remind us that the ‘Rebellion was built on Hope’.
This piece will be one of three auctioned off for charity at the Drowning in Moonlight Gala Memorial for Carrie Fisher after the opening day of Star Wars Celebration Orlando on April 13th at the Rosen Center Hotel.
Then, fast forward to about a month after her passing, and I was inspired once again by Carrie and Leia. I wanted to create something to show that there really is hope and a resistance to what is going on in the real world. Yes, I’m speaking of politics. Those that follow me know that I have a not so subtle leaning towards the Rebellion and their aims. So… thus began a new piece of Leia artwork. I was still working within the theme of Hope, though the expression of Leia and her readiness with a blaster shows that we mean business. This is not the time to keep your head down and ignore the problems. It’s time to get your hands dirty, and work to rebel against the tyranny of the Empire.
For this piece I chose her iconic look from A New Hope, and paired it with a similar styling to what was seen on the packaging of the original Star Wars action figures from the late 70s and early 80s. And of course, the “O” of Hope is replaced with the Rebel Alliance symbol. The subtle shifting of hues from black to blue in the background behind her in the star-field are to represent the fight of oppression and tyranny. (Notice there’s more blue than black, there’s a reason for that… the good guys always win!)
And also, while designing this piece, I was thinking that it would make a great design for a t-shirt. I already have a shop on TeePublic, so I thought what better way to help others, than to give the proceeds to charity and to help ensure the rights of every American? So, with that idea, I posted the design and made it known that portions of the proceeds were going to be split between a charity that Carrie Supported, Midnight Mission; as well as the ACLU to support the rights of all Americans.
Just a side note… I am not selling this design in attempt to make a profit off Ms. Fisher or her passing. I am splitting the proceeds between the two great causes in hopes that it will help to benefit those in need as well as protect and strengthen our liberties. Something that I think Ms. Fisher would get behind completely.
So if you have a little extra money, and would like a cool shirt of our Rebellious Princess with her message of Hope, and want to help out some great causes while you’re at it, then pop on over to TeePublic and order! There are not only t-shirts for men, but women’s cut tees as well, with tank tops, kids t-shirts, and hoodies too!
And last but not least… as a little commentary of what is going on in the world and where Carrie stood on the matter, I leave you with a tweet from our very own Mark Hamill – aka – Luke Skywalker.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) January 21, 2017
Thanks for reading & checking out what I’ve been up to lately, and until next time…