Portrait of Sarah and Amelia Mae Paradise
Oil on linen
Copyright Rose Adare 2012
Now retired, Sara and Amelia Mae Paradise built their gender bending fan base as the Bay Area’s bearded ladies of Diamond Dagger Burlesque. Suave, coy and stylish, their burlesque shows were always unique, their talent reinforcing natural beauty while breaking gender boundaries both on stage and off.
“When I met the Paradise’s I was enamored with their passion. Sarah was a rogue with a wink in her eye, while Amelia was all grace and poise. And together? They were absolute ignition. They teased each other through the first sitting: smirking, biting, and laughing in each others arms. At first, Amelia was very solid, but later, when I started to paint Sarah I kept struggling. Her face would go through a range of emotion, primarily sad and gut wrenching. After fighting with her portrait for some time I called Amelia to see if everything was okay. She gave me the teary reply that they were no longer together. I had so wanted to capture that spark, but it wasn’t there, so I allowed the paint to do what it wanted. Sarah became smoke, and her face became so much easier to capture because she was allowed to be sad and maudlin. This is how paint often works. It feels like there’s a pipeline to the model and I will go through a range of emotions depending on where that person is.”