I'm hoping that the third time is a charm. This print has been trying (and succeeding very well) to drive me crazy. I could not understand what it was that was nagging non-stop. Finally, a friend said she thought that the central figure was too dark. I looked closer and the original drawing was not dark, so I must have over-developed the plate. Back to platemaking and a 30 second developing time and this is so much better. It reminds me of a story another friend, who just happened to be a poet, told me years and years ago. She said she had a friend who helped her with her poetry and the problem was always the line above or below the problem line, and never the "problem line" at all. Right after that I was painting a portrait commission and could not get the nose right. Finally, I redid the mouth and the nose was fine. Such was the case with this print. I thought it was the amount of white space that was wrong, and it was instead the darkness around the hair and face of that center figure. Thank you to my good friend for turning me around! Another lesson learned again. I don't know if I have time to learn every lesson over and over and over. I would really like to get to that woodblock someday.
I'm assuming everyone recognized these three women as the Three Graces: Aglaea (beauty), Euphrosyne (mirth), Thalia (good cheer). This image has the central figure, Aglaea, needing her support group. She is traditionally the grace dealing with beauty and is also the oldest, so I'm wondering if she is worried about losing her beauty because she is aging. Maybe she is considering a face lift... or maybe not. I'll leave it to the viewer to make up the story.