Giovanni Verga is one of my favourite authors. I read The She-Wolf in my twenties and it blew me away. I decided to reread it a few years ago because I suspected that my gut wrenching memories of the short story were probably coloured by the passions of my youth. They weren't.
The book cover states that Verga is incredibly difficult to translate. The story must be devastatingly beautiful in Italian because the English translation by G.H. McWilliam is exquisite.
I was introduced to this narrative in an undergraduate English class. Our professor asked us to write a paper about buried symbolism in one paragraph. I whipped over to the library, poured over reference books on the subject, and discovered multiple layers of meaning in nearly every word. As a result, the story clung to my cells for years.
The main character is a woman who goes after whatever she wants regardless of the consequences. She is not one-dimensional. La Lupa reveals an amalgam of contradictory traits that are mesmerizing and villainous.
I felt compelled to draw her.
I scanned an old photograph of myself and that of a wolf. I ripped up the latter and glued parts of it on my face.
As mentioned in a previous post, I frequently experiment with both traditional techniques and technology to compose drawings and paintings. I begin with various processes such as collage, pliage, déchirage and froissage to modify photographs; then alter the images digitally in Photoshop. In this case, I adjusted the proportions of the image to match the ratio of the support I was going to use (a considerably larger sheet of paper.)
The sheet wasn't "technically" art paper but it was acid free and had an extremely smooth finish. Charcoal just glided on it. The surface was so flexible and sturdy that I could do just about anything I wanted to it.
I suspect that in future, I will probably make more She-Wolves. A long whine or howl emanating from the studio during a full moon could suggest that Verga is once again flowing through my veins.