This piece started at 18 x 27 inches. This size, 26 x 39, is much better, as it can be viewed from 30 or 40 feet away, as well as getting right up close for details.
The women stand under the dappled shade of a tree, backed by a wall; the sculpture that was my model was photographed on a cloudy day a year ago in Koln, Germany. Cloudy days are great for marble, the light wraps around and the shadows are soft. The cemetery there is like a huge park, families come out to tend the sites on weekends, it's a picnic. The marble, in this instance, is rather degraded by soot, acid rain, and by having stood outdoors for 110 years.
These ladies are despondent, one weeping, the other leaning for support. The dappled sun at the edge of the tree's shade, a bit cooler for them, is a way of touching them, comforting them. They're fine, they'll bounce back, but they could have used some kind gesture. I'd love to have touched the back of a hand to a cheek. Gaze on them with compassion.
It's not too surprising we don't know who they were, these artist's models (not in this case survivors of the deceased). I recently read a book, The Memory Factory, by Julie M. Johnson, an art historian at Purdue University; she details how female artists (such as Teresa Reis, sculptor) in Vienna, successful commercially and critically in the late 1800s and early 1900s, were systematically purged from art histories. I'm about to borrow a large book on lives of artists' models from one of my clients - it's on Amazon but costs a couple hundred dollars, which I'd best be spending on ink and paper!
Oh, I recall I was going to let on what the changes were that finished the piece. The texture of the shadow on the woman in lavender's right breast (on our left) was too smooth, and her nipple showed through too much; there's a small area at the left edge of the woman in green's gown that had a scrumbly area as most of the marble did orignially, that needed a little shading and highlighting. It's my job to make more than most people can see, so that there's a depth of experience possible, isn't it?