I finished the painting of Bunny just a day after she left, in a sugar-fueled dawn-light sprint.
Venus of Wilmersdorf by Suzanne Forbes April 21 2016
Although I much prefer to paint my models at night, in electric light, I often finish the details of paintings in as much bright daylight as I can tolerate. While I was working on the details, I remembered a couple of things from when she was here.
As we worked, during the second sitting, Bunny talked about her days with the Glamour-Bombing group. And when she left, she paused in the hallway to take a long look at one of my very few creepy paintings, the one called Chupacabra.
So I decided to give her fey eyes.
Or rather, the brush decided for me, surprising me, and I was pleased.
On the left you can she has a large, centered single highlight on each pupil and on the right, one small and one large on each pupil. You can also see the shadowing of her corneas has increased slightly on the left, making the the highlights seem brighter. This gives the effect that the pupils reflect light the way a cat’s eyes do (which is because the back of their eyeball has this reflective layer called the tapetum lucidum).
Then, because I was still thinking about the “spooky eyes” phenomenon today, I made a couple of eye studies.
As you can see, the highlight in the “regular” eye is offset to the left and double. In addition, it is placed below the shadow meridian cast by the eyelid. The whites of the cornea are most prominent to the sides of the pupil, while in the “spooky” eye the brightest whites gather below the pupil, emphasizing the reflective property of the eye.
I’m not a fantasy artist, but I thought this analysis, based on the style of old-school horror and fantasy artists like Bernie Wrightson and Jeffrey Catherine Jones, might be helpful!