Ophelia of Shakespeare’s Hamlet Demo Speed Paint by Leilani Joy

Date: 2014
Posted by: Leilani Joy
Cast: None
Credits: Presented by Leilani Joy
Duration: 12.26

One of YouTube’s major functions – though probably not a function originally considered by its creators – is instructional. There as millions of videos on the site offering illustrated advice on anything from cookery tips to bathroom repairs. The most successful videos are those that combine visual clarity with engaging personality, as many are presented by the expert in question.

Shakespeare sometimes features in such videos, and here’s a good example. Leilani Joy in an American artist offering instruction in how to produce figurative illustrations, of the large-eyed kind. The distinctive touch she uses is speeded-up action (‘speed paint’) of the process. She has a large following, as can be gathered not only from the viewing figures, number of subscribers and the number of comments on each of her videos, but in the confident way in which she addresses her audience.

Her subject for this video is Ophelia (one of her ‘Muses’ series). She introduces her audience to earlier artworks on Ophelia (some classical, so less so), with the assumption that many of those in the audience will know little if anything about the play. She then goes into painting the drowned Ophelia (with tips on water effects), without any further comment on why she has chosen this scene or why it would have any particular appeal. The trope of Ophelia drowned is so embedded in the consciousness that it needs no further explanation. You don’t have to know Hamlet to know Ophelia. The video is striking testimony to Shakespearean iconography and and the handing on of myth.

Oh, and the finished artwork is available for sale.

Links: YouTube page
Leilani Joy’s website