I think I'm done with my place project. I've added texture to it to give the flowing black some more life (ironic because it's the underworld). I wanted there to be more than just a black mass, I wanted it to have some purpose. I started out covering up the previous white lines with paint, but letting it sit on top and not fully mixing it in to get the bumpy texture. After that I added paint in between each of the lumps to make it flow consecutively more. I'm pretty satisfied with this, I think I could have done better in terms of overall aesthetic, but it still looks okay. The landscape with the mountains is white and fading away into the black background because the
I really actually like the message of this painting the most though, more than the actual painting. Basically this is the Lethe River in the Greek Underworld. It's the River of Oblivion or Forgetfulness and if you touch the waters or drink from it, you lose your memory. The dead souls that have been given the option to be reborn on Earth have to drink from this river to lose all the memories of their old life. I'd always been interested in Greco-Roman mythology and when I'd read about the river in passing, I'd always envisioned it as black in my mind, because it symbolized oblivion, but for this project I actually did some research. I looked into the writings of Plato and Virgil and, unsurprisingly, there were no concrete depictions of this river. It's not like the Phlegethon, which is literally the River of Fire and a bit easier to depict. Many different sources said different things about the river, so I decided to depict it in my own vision.
Underworld is a place of the shades and spirits. For me, it makes sense that this sort of place would be white and fading, because it's not really there. On the contrary, I do sometimes envision the underworld as a solid place that souls go to, but in this paining, it makes more sense for me to look at it like an ethereal place, not fully there, but still having a presence. Another reason is the background is that way is because of the way I wanted it to react with the river itself, the main focus of the piece. I wanted the Lethe to be solid black, at a high contrast to the fading land it flowed through. This was because since the river washes away all memory, it's the only thing that stays constant. All memories and lives fade in the underworld, the only thing that remains is loss, the loss of memory, the loss of old friends, the loss of life. The only thing that remains in the end is oblivion or the void, because everything else is washed away by it.