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Archive for the ‘Paintings’ Category

Medusa

Medusa always makes me wonder about Fate…

From statue… (‘Bust of Medusa,’ by Bernini)

…to sketch…

…to painting. Detail from ‘The Golden Fleece.’ (I like the interesting things that happen when you translate a line-drawing to a painting. ‘The Golden Fleece,’ 2017, is entirely sketch-to-painting. It was a really different, really fun challenge!)

The story goes that Medusa began her life as a mortal; a priestess in a temple of Athena. She was a human like any other. At some point, and the myth says very little of this, she was raped inside the temple. Athena, in outrage of such an act occurring within her sanctuary, punished Medusa (?!) by turning her into a gorgon. A gorgon was a creature with snakes for hair, and who’s gaze turned the living into stone. She fled or was exiled to a lonely, far off island to live with others of her kind.

Much later, the hero Perseus, son of Zeus and the mortal Danae, was compelled by an evil king to bring back the head of the gorgon, Medusa. Favoured by Athena, Perseus was aided in his labours and led to several magical objects which would allow him to accomplish this. Perseus finally made his way to Medusa’s lair. There, with the powers he had gained on his quest, he beheaded the monster, and placed it in a bag to conceal it’s powers.

You know Sargent painted this statue, too. *wink* (Benvenuto Cellini’s ‘Perseo con la testa di Medusa.’ The statue, that is. The painting is by meeee!)

I guess I revisit this subject quite a bit.

And on that point, these are two very fascinating studies that Cellini did before he made the final statue of Perseus and Medusa which stands in Florence.

Incidentally there are many other branching myths which are directly related to this story. For example, the pegasus was born directly out of Medusa’s fatal wound. It leapt, fully grown, from her neck. But our concern is specifically with Medusa, so we won’t digress any further. It’s hard enough to say so little of Perseus.

Perseus made his way home through several other adventures. All the while he carried Medusa’s head with him, only removing it from it’s bag when he needed it’s power to turn his enemies to stone. This he eventually did to the king who had first sent him on this quest. Perseus no longer had any use for the head now, and seeing this, Hermes brought it to Athena.

Perseus used a reflection to avoid Medusa’s gaze and guide his sword to her neck. Oh… Who’s that reflected here…?

Athena took Medusa’s head and affixed to her shield, so that all who met her in battle would see the horrible, glaring face of the monster. Forever after, the gorgon’s head would be a symbol of Athena, an emblem of her power. And quite a potent one, too.

Athena wearing Medusa’s image as a mask/helm.

So if we were to sum this up: Athena turns a mortal into a monster and gives it horrible powers. She sends someone to kill that monster. She tells this person exactly HOW to kill that monster by beheading it. She then takes the head as her own symbol and as a warning to both her enemies and her devotees alike.

This is a rather human depiction of Medusa. There is a huge range of variation in her imagery; from the monstrous and glaring, to the human and suffering.

I saw this sculpture in a park in Rome. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous.

This brings us back to my original thoughts… Was Medusa simply a victim of Fate, or at every step was she part of a Divine Plan?

In the end though, for all of us mortals, is there a difference?

The Artist Project

The 2017 Artist Project show was February 23 – 26 this year. And hey, whaddaya know? I was in it! It was a really good weekend of talking about art, meeting new people (hey, maybe you’re reading this because you came by my booth! Thanks for visiting my website!), and having a chance to show my work to a lot of people who have never seen it before!

I put up my favourites of my 2015 Italy paintings and two tantalizingly new pieces… Two mythology-based paintings which are the beginning of a whooole new body of work. Exciting, don’t ya think? Take a look at my setup!

Setup was on my birthday. Thanks go to Nina for this one!

My booth as a whole. Very simple, clean setup. See that trunk though? Makes you feel warm, doesn’t it? Kinda homey, isn’t it? You might say it… really ties the room together.

Lookit that grin! Grinning like a fool! Thanks to Nikki for taking this!

Out in the Field, Levelling-Up

I’ve been back in Toronto since January, y’know, coupla months. And I’ve been going to a life painting session on Fridays preeeettty regularly. And y’know, there are only so many models in the city (particularly ones that are available to work on a Friday night, if ya wanna get really mathematical about it), so it stands to reason that I’ve painted a few people a few different times. Well heck, I’m into the whole improving thing, like in the case of my time in Italy this year… SEE OLDER POST. And I’m ‘specially ’bout practical, concrete results. Haha even in the world of art where NOTHING is certain and this here ain’t no goddam pipe.

So anyhow, I have two particular examples of what I’m talking about going all the way back to the beginning of the year. Progress? Improvement? Increased technical mastery over the mechanical realities of my physical body? Who’s to say?

Well, I am, goddammit. They’re my paintings and I know where I’m friggin goin with em. (Ok, kinda… to a certain degree…)

After all, a great man once said, “if yer not gettin better, then what are ya even doin, amiright?”

You’re not wrong, bud, you’re not wrong.

This painting is the from the first session I went to in 2016, back in January.

This painting is the from the first session I went to in 2016, back in January.

Level2

THIS ONE is from sometime in February, I believe.

And then about five or six weeks ago, so sometime in April, the same model returned and I made this one... There are quite a few things I like about both of these paintings. Interesting things seem to happen.

And then about five or six weeks ago, so sometime in April, the same model returned and I made this one… There are quite a few things I like about both of these paintings. Interesting things seem to happen with this model.

And then THIS ONE from this passed Friday. THERE IT IS, bros. Make yer own conclusions! Level Up! Exp to Next Level - ???

And then THIS ONE from this passed Friday. THERE IT IS, bros. Make yer own conclusions!
Level Up!
Exp to Next Level – ???

Looks Like My Paintings Have Gone COFFEE PUBLIC!

Get it??

Well you don’t have to get it, CAUSE THEY’RE THERE! At Coffee Public down at ol’ College and Bay in dirty ol’ Toronto! Ain’t that nice? I think it’s nice…

My paintings have come down back at Starving Artist, but these DIFFERENT paintings from Italy are now up fer yer viewing pleasure! And coffee pleasure! Go on, go and have a coffee! I dare ya. And get a muffin, too. Or even a cookie. Cause CHANCES ARE I made those, too!

But let’s get back to the paintings! Rather than my landscapey plein-air bros, these are specifically of the statues in Florence. From my faaaaavourite place in Florence! Yes, even more so than the Museo La Specola, and yes, I know that sounds outrageous, but hear me out. Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, they’re from the Loggia Dei Lanzi in Piazza Della Signoria. But I’ve talked about this place befooooorrre. Just scroll on back through the blog a little bit! So anyhow, I thought they’d look real good on the concrete pillars at Coffee Public!

Pillars

Oh this painting, THIS PAINTING, is the SECOND LAST one that I did in Italy! Just the night before I left! Powerful fuggin stuff, bros.

Oh this painting, THIS PAINTING, is the SECOND LAST one that I did in Italy! Just the night before I left! Powerful fuggin stuff, bros.

Some fun facts about these paintings… They were all painted in the middle of the night in a goddam gigantic and empty plaza in the heart of the friggin city of Florence! Ohhhh man, was it beautiful. Get up and coffee-up in the morning, wander and paint all afternoon (possibly in a museum), come home and make dinner, cool the frig off, take er easy fer a bit, get the ol’ travel setup ready to go and roll outta the house around 11… Set up in the piazza around midnight juuuuust when the place empties out of tourists and then, bros… BROS. Beautiful night of painting aheada ya. Definitely helps that half of the goddam sum of Western art is like 25 feet away within the walls of the Uffizi. *Sigh* It was g r e a t .

Starving Artist Shows Recent Work at Starving Artist

I shouldn’t say that. I eat pretty well. Mostly coffee and donuts, but like, a lot of coffee and donuts. Like, no shortage. It’s also not really something to joke about. But we’re getting way off-topic here…

I’ve got some paintings on display right now! Can you believe it? Me! Showing my paintings? Noooo… but yeah! Totally am, bro! Some paintings from my pilgrimage-thing to Italy from last Summer are up at Starving Artist on Lansdowne! Right here in sunny* Toronto.

*It’s definitely been sunny at some point. It has happened. I’m reasonably sure of this.

Right up until these went up on the walls a grand total of approximately (I say approximately cause when you’re dealing with number that are this astronomical… well… accuracy is nearly impossible) 5 people had ever seen them. So pretty rad to think these were NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN paintings! And I suppose there’s also the fact that they’ve got my goddam heart and soul mixed right in with the paint… you know, if you like that kind of thing.

There are ten of them! Go take a look! Have a great breakfast while you’re at it! Starving Artist definitely comes Corey-recommended. What the hell have you got to lose?

Always beware of reflections when taking cellphone pictures...

Always beware of reflections when taking cellphone pictures…

This statue looks awfully familiar, doesn't it?

This statue looks awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

I promised myself I'd go back and take better pictures at some point. I didn't do that.

I promised myself I’d go back and take better pictures at some point. I didn’t do that.

Threefer

Fiori

Ercole

But yo, if we can be real for a second here, it’s time for a confession… I have a pretty hilariously small amount of experience with hanging paintings. Keep in mind I tried. Oh, I did try. But these aren’t perfectly straight. Maybe even a little lopsided and uneven. There, I said it. Now you know. Ha! But what are YOU gonna do about it? I friggin dare ya to go in there with a level and see if they don’t tell ya to siddown, shaddap and order some goddam waffles. That’s what I thought, waffles or gtfo.