She’s only a sophomore, but Melisa Torres already possesses the skills of many seasoned artists. One of the most creative teenagers at Huntington High School, her latest work is stunning.
Ms. Torres recently studied one of the masterpieces in the August Heckscher Collection at the Heckscher Museum of Art. She spent many hours reflecting on the work and then set out to create something sensational.
“What caught my eye in the painting, Stripped of Borrowed Feathers: The Raven Jackdaw by Melchior d’Hondecoeter, was the great amount of detail that he put into the birds,” Ms. Torres said. “Birds have always fascinated me and this painting caught my attention. I was encapsulated by the way in which d’Hondecoeter chose to depict the Aesop’s Fable, The Vain Jackdaw. Based on the tale, vanity caused the downfall of the raven because it stole what didn’t belong to it and it paid the consequences.”
The painting and the tale mesmerized the Huntington teenager and she found it impossible to just put it aside. So she went to work.
A Dutch painter, Melchior d’Hondecoeter (1639-1695) was described in the 19th century as the “Raphael of bird painters.” His Stripped of Borrowed Feathers; The Raven-Jackdaw is an oil on canvas that measures 60 x 56¾ inches.
“I started researching other paintings by Melchior d’Hondecoeter and found another painting based on vanity where it included a beautiful peacock,” Ms. Torres said. “I immediately thought of the saying ‘proud as a peacock’ and decided to use the feathers of a peacock to symbolize excessive pride. I decided to use traditional techniques such as watercolor combined with digital methods since I had never done so before. I also thought this combination would enhance the look of the content I was portraying.”
What the Huntington sophomore produced is magnificent. Her piece, titled All Eyes on Me is simply gorgeous. She’s been working with Huntington art teacher Kasmira Mohanty to develop her talents and her latest artwork shows just how far she’s come.
“The eyes on the peacock feathers address another phrase in All Eyes On Me,” Ms. Torres said. “The eyes on the peacock feathers represent eyes that the women has stolen because she wants everyone to look at her. She is the embodiment of excessive pride and is a parallel to the raven that stole feathers for attention.”