Natalie Wood, as Deanie, experiences transcendence that comes from the purest romantic love. I remember seeing that movie when it was first shown in 1961. I too had experienced my first true love and loss. It is as if you cannot breathe, the romantic feelings are so heightened. And then, in Deanie's case, you cannot live when it is taken away from you.
My painting tries to capture what she was feeling right before she walked to that dark and waiting river, planning to throw herself in.
Her intensity is unmatched. Her glowing, globular brown eyes. When Beattie's character betrayed her, she broke like glass. Shattered, though pieced back together in the Sanitarium. While Beattie's character went on to an earthy happiness with Zohra Lampert, Deanie's happiness is forever lost.
What about in real life? Wood and Beattie were young lovers. Did Natalie ever find such happiness again? I don't think so based on her tragic end.
Warren Beattie is apparently happily married just like his character in the movie. While Natalie was left on a yacht, bitter cocktail in hand, until she fell, plunged or was pushed into the treacherous waters of Catalina. We still don't know the answer.
I once rode on a glass bottomed boat in Catalina. I saw the leaping, silver, flying fish. Do not be misled by the glittering fish of Hollywood.
Just like the beginning of Wordsworth's poem that speaks of what the untouched child sees, "There was a time when meadow, grove and stream/ The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem/Apparelled in celestial light."
Natalie Wood was once that joyous exuberant child. It's a long way from "Miracle on 34th Street", to "Splendor In the Grass" and tragically to Catalina's cold, still, final end.