The divine feminine: Depicting realistic women in art

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Eva Poulsen, a senior art major, recently participated in an exhibition displaying two pieces titled “Rising Queen of Hearts” and “Drama Queen” in the 2022 senior synopsis at the University of Dallas. This exhibition marks a great milestone in her lifelong journey as an artist. 

“I always knew that I was going to do art,” Poulsen said, “I’ve always been an artist. And that’s the one constant in my life.”

Entering UD as a freshman, Poulsen’s favorite medium was drawing, but sophomore year she discovered a love for painting, which was one of the main mediums used in her exhibit.

Poulsen credits her love and understanding of painting to Mihee Nahm, a painting instructor at UD.  

“She just created a love for the medium within me,” Poulsen said, “prior to that I had no interest in painting. I hated it as a medium. I didn’t know how to tame it. It was the one thing that I couldn’t figure out how to use and I love art. There’s not a whole lot of mediums that I can’t work with; painting was just a really frustrating one for me. But then after Mihee taught me how to properly use oil paint, it created that understanding in me and that love for it once I figured out how to do it.”

Utilizing her love for painting, Poulsen created two collage style paintings, both highlighting the “divine feminine.” 

“I was predominantly focusing on femininity. I tried to create an image of the divine feminine, which is something that we learned a lot about with like ancient Greek cultures, ancient Egyptian cultures,” she explained.

In several Core classes, such as Understanding the Bible and philosophy, Poulsen learned about a Christian or western understanding of the relationship between men and women. In her own research, Poulsen studied several other cultures’ understandings of the harmony between men and women, especially eastern.  

“I did a lot of research on the feminine and the Yin Yang,” Poulsen explained, “It’s represented by the dark side, the black part and then the white part is the divine masculine. And so I made the back of the canvases or the face like the background of it was all black to represent that.”

Using the complimentary depictions of men and women, Poulsen wanted to focus on the depictions of women, showing a beautiful, but realistic and relatable woman. 

“I wanted to focus on this feminine part because I feel very feminine as a woman myself and I wanted other women to be able to see it and see themselves in it.”

She depicted through her two paintings two of the natural phases that all women experience.  

“Rising Queen of Hearts” shows the height of the female cycle, through a vibrant and active piece. 

“You’re very focused, you’re very feminine, you’re very energetic, and flirty and fun,” Poulsen said in reference to the piece. “And that’s like that thriving part of a woman, you know, like, she’s getting everything done.”

“Drama Queen” shows the decline in energy and positivity that follows the peak of the cycle.

“You get a lot of mood swings. You’re very bloated, you can’t focus, you get that mind fog. Nothing makes sense. Everything is like, up and down. It’s like that crash and burn right after you’re thriving so much.”

Poulsen’s senior synopsis is a beautiful example of skilled artistic prowess and exemplifies the mission of UD through displaying aspects of the Core curriculum, in depicting the divine feminine, while fully expressing her personal beliefs and individual thought.

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