I’m planning to paint Minerva/Athena. It will be a portrait from head to the lower leg. In order to be able to paint the face in sufficient detail I need a canvas larger than my current easel can accommodate (I’m thinking at least 1 metre in length). Right now I don’t have the money to spend on a large easel of good quality so I’m spending some time making preparatory sketches and paintings. Below is a sketch of how I’m thinking it will look.
For the face I know a woman who I thought would be perfect as the face of Minerva but she refused, telling me it would be embarrassing. I couldn’t think of anyone else who had a fitting physiognomy so I decided to create my own model. I have an image of what Minerva looks like in my mind, however imagination is often not as high resolution as one would like so the features needed to be crystallised. I searched for a solution and found a programme called DAZ 3D. The programme itself is free and provides a male and female model, however, I bought an add-on with the ability to change facial features and expressions with numerous sliders (sort of like a character creator in a computer game). As luck would have it I found suitable hair for free (renderosity link). I decided that Minerva should have a strong chin and wide nose bridge but other than that I played around to see what fitted my vision. I then posed the model, set up the lighting, and rendered the image to use as reference.
Also, the folds and creases of the golden cape billowing behind her were impossible to figure out just from imagination so I came up with the idea of laying a fancy dress cape on the floor in a similar shape and used it as a reference.