“MADAM THORNEY: SHE TOLD FORTUNES” By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY
Acrylic On 16” x 20” Gallery Stretched Canvas
“SHE TOLD FORTUNES, This English Gypsy called Madam Thorney, and she held my right hand tight. I expected her to study my open palm; instead, she searched my face.” – Bart McDowell, National Geographic Senior Editor-
The photograph of Madam Thorney, which this painting is based upon, can be found in the book ‘Gypsies Wanderers Of The World’. Her description intrigued me:
“I studied this fortune-teller with puzzled respect: her arresting, heavy lidded eyes and her strong, gentle features – a face suggesting nose-jewels and saris.”
As I set about to capture Madam Thorney, I took quite a few artistic liberties with my rendition of the photo. Those things in my painting that remain unchanged are her sign, her posture, general features and eyes. Notice that I said, “General Features”. As I looked at the photograph of Madam Thorney by Bruce Dale and Bart McDowell’s description of her, I saw all her ancestors that had made her who she was. As I painted, I did not even try to copy the photograph, that was not my intent. My goal was to capture the spirit of what the photograph had captured, her heritage, her history and her bloodline.
Madam Thorney, in the photo, appears to be in her late sixties or maybe early seventies. The photo was taken at her wagon where she was telling fortunes at Epsom Downs for Derby Days in 1968. I am sure that Madam Thorney left to meet her ancestors an exceptionally long time ago. But here she is, still smiling and reading fortunes within the pages of this book and her essence now captured upon my canvas.
-The GYPSY: January 24, 2021 – Topeka, Kansas-