Accentuating the sinister is certainly popular these days. And the ocean’s vastness contains many dark and scary things. (Heck, if we really wanted to go over to the dark side, I could even paint Darth Vader going by on a Jet Ski.)
But the ocean is also a giver of life. Life, birth, …the Birth of Venus! Wow. Botticelli’s most famous Birth of Venus image (“Venus on the Half Shell”, as it were) would jazz up the whole scene, and play beautifully off the ripieno paintwork already on the car..
Even better, look at this ravishing Naissance de Venus by Alexandre Cabanel, from 1863 – Not only is the nude Venus intrinsically lovely, but she embodies a nineteenth century ideal – sort of a midpoint between the well-upholostered nudes of Reubens and the hard bodied ideal of today. I have already knocked myself out getting a perfect likeness of another quintessentially nineteenth century nude by Cabanel’s rival and cohort, Bourguereau.
Painting this nude by Cabanel would be a familiar challenge and a pleasure.
Those beautifully realized putti, that form a rainbow over her recumbent form — not only do they suggest her fecundity, but also fend off any suggestion of vulgarity.