When I was asked, what it represented, I said it was about the duality of the human nature. That's why I referred to the work as Dualism, although it never had any "official" title. The painting, done with oils on cardboard, beside being the largest piece of art I've ever done (105 x 85 cm), also remains to be my last oil painting, and it currently covers a hole in my apartment, face to the wall.
Later the same year I did a black-and-white version for my "Graphic Fantasies" copybook, which has a long history of its own. The copybook version had been titled Two Natures, and looked somewhat caricatural. The next year I did another remake -- this time with color pencils and ballpoint pens, which happens to be not only my first serious attempt in that technique, but also the very first work that laid the foundation of my whole artistic career as a surrealist.
Stairway from Heaven (Night Version)
When I first met Diana in person and we started our artist/model relationship (in step with the romantic one, that is), it was only natural for me to think about remaking the old works with her as the model. In the next two years we did a lot of photo-shooting for various projects, including the "Dianized" versions of some previous titles, but the only actual remake (or rather a sequel) we did so far was Still Waiting..., continuing the story of Waiting for Another Crank-Up.
Thus, Stairway from Heaven II was to be the second remake with Diana, and the first one, actually featuring her face (we saw only her back in the previous remake). I started to work a couple of days ago, and it took only two full days to finish the drawing.
My "winged prostitutes" are simply doomed for experiments. The original oil painting was sort of a Frankenstein monster, painted from different models (one lent me her arms and torso, but was too shy about her legs, the other was just vice-versa). Besides, it was the one and only painting where I used the elements of pointillism (in the mosaic texture of the stairway). The 1995 versions represented a real training ground for my emerging trademark technique. As for the remake with Diana, it was the first time I tested my new LYRA Osiris aquarelle pencils. They proved to be an excellent medium, perfectly suited for my style, and they were especially handy when rendering the stairway texture: they can be applied wet, which makes the dotting process a lot easier, among other things.
But that was the only experimental thing about it. As you can see from the different stages of work, all the rest proceeded as usual, from the basic layout to the intermediate processing with color pencils, subsequently refined with the ballpoint pens, as seen in the finished artwork below.
When put beside Stairway from Heaven (Morning Version), this remake perfectly illustrates the improvement of my drawing technique. But the new version looks much better not only because of that, but also because it features Diana, who can make any artwork of mine look way better than it is without her...