Flower

Archive for the ‘Sketches’ 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?

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 – ???

A Week on the West Coast

YO! Back in October I was visiting my bros Mike and Mariah in ol’ Victoria, BC! It was great! I had a good chance to see a lot of the– wait, what? …you don’t care? Drawings? Hey, I’ll tell a backstory if I want to, bud… Oh yeah? Well maybe I don’t care that you don’t care, you ever think of that, BUD?

*fighting*

Well imaginary arguments aside, I did a bunch of sketching over there!

These mountains are the Olympic Mountain range in Washington state. Pretty rad! Lemme just sacrifice a bull and pop across the wine-dark sea on my long-prowed ship!

Painting water is just... BRO. It's bro. I could bro that bro forever, bro. Fuuuuuckin' bro.

Painting water is just… BRO. It’s bro. I could bro that bro forever, bro. Fuuuuuckin’ bro.

I THOUGHT that this mountain might have been a Canadian one, but on some slightly further investigation, I’m pretty sure it’s also part of the States. Anyhow, it’s not part of the Olympic range, it’s off the East side of the island. Er, I guess the East side of Victoria, for those of us keeping track on a map.

Mount

And if your maps are still out, this is from up on a hill (Gonzalez hill) sorta facing back towards that first drawing and the breakwater where I sat when I drew it.

Gonzalez

This is the legislature building on the Inner Harbour.

I was the subject of at least three different tourist-photos while I was sitting there. Photos from a set that will likely be forgotten and buried in an untitled folder on a soon-to-be-outdated hard drive of an obsolete computer. Which actually hasn't happened to me since Italy. STILL GOT IT.

I was the subject of at least three different tourist-photos while I was sitting here. Perhaps just a single photo from a set that will be forgotten and buried in an untitled folder on the soon-to-be-outdated hard drive of an obsolete computer. Which actually hasn’t happened to me since Italy. STILL GOT IT.

Some sketches (good and bad) from the Royal BC Museum.

Animaux2

Interesting sidenote, these are actually the worst drawings I've ever done.

Interesting sidenote, these seals are actually the worst drawings I’ve ever done.

Animaux1

Totem

Yo, ROM, you JEALOUS, bro??

Ever have lunch with a peacock in front of a castle? Sounds pretty good, eh? It’s kinda like a soft version of “ever dance with the devil in a pale moonlight?”

Ok, so the castle was behind me when I drew this. What? I like water.

Ok, so the castle was behind me when I drew this. What? I like water.

It seemed like there were always mountains just on the edge of the horizon everywhere you look in Victoria (another thing that hasn’t happened since Italy!). It’s pretty ideal. Kinda like how deer are “pests” out there. Geez and the sunshine, the bike lanes and the free-roaming peacocks are a real big problem, too. SOUNDS LIKE A PRETTY NICE PLACE, EH? Don’t even get me started on their craft beer epidemic. Anyhow, as I was saying about the mountains, the sky just behind them always had a really soft yellow glow to it that I kept trying to capture in my sketches. I think this last one is the closest I got. How about that, eh?

Driftwood

As an extra point of interest, all of the following names were considered for this post:

A Veek in Victoria, A Birder’s Guide to South Eastern Vancouver Island, Bros Will Be Bros, Bro Is As Bro Does, How I Learned to Relax and Love the West Coast, British Columbia for Dummies: Victoria Edition, Why I’ve Never Seen a Whale, The Trouble With Peacocks, Hey Bros Can I Sleep on Your Couch?, #firsttovisit, What I Did on Mt. Doug and Why, Don’t Go Down That Road There, BC for Basic Bitches, That Dino Don’t Look Right, Randy’s Gut is Full of Greasy Old Oyster Burgers, Selfies Done Right, and That’s Not The Proper Nomenclature.

One further point of interest:

Approximately 5% of the previous list was actually considered.

Coupla Sketches

Whew, don’t wanna let things get too far away from me on here, so here’s a quick post… An aperitif, if you will… An appetizer, perhaps… Calm before the storm, maybe…? HA! The model didn’t show up at the ol’ Waterloo life drawing the other day, so instead everyone sat for a 25-ish minute portrait. Seems appropriate, considering all the people I’ve drawn lately have been made of marble!

un

deux

trois

quatre

This guy had a pretty rad Zelda t-shirt on.

cinq

Feels like a pretty clear "this is a waste of my time" look on his face, but you never know. (He seemed like a nice guy)

Rinse and Repeat

I wasn’t kidding when I said draw it again and again and again. It’s Herakles and the Centaur! Again!

Young Michael brought up an interesting point in the comments on the last Herk post… About us being taught to show the MIDDLE of the action while we were in school. A lot of emphasis was put on things like the line of action and the follow-through. That is, making it very clear where the action is about to take place. A good example of this that comes to mind in Renaissance art is the Ferryman of the dead in the bottom right corner of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement in the Sisteen Chapel. The creepy old dude is in the middle of swinging his oar at the souls he’s about to take to Hell. Pretty gnarly. It looks like he could finish the swing at any moment… FOLLOW THROUGH, if you will. Which is evidently what I look for. Anyway, I suppose what it comes down to is that one can never help one’s training. All those Norrellite sympathies popping up, y’know?

It also brings up a good point about other cases of pre-action depictions of this sort of thing (I guess it really does help being in Italy when talking about this)… FOR EXAMPLE: Both Michelangelo’s and Bernini’s statue of David show him BEFORE facing Goliath. In Michelangelo’s, he’s contemplating the task ahead, and in Bernini’s, he’s pulled his sling taught and is about to launch the stone. Quite a contrast to a large number of other depictions of David and Goliath, both in painting and in sculpture, where David is shown with the severed head of the already defeated giant. Interesting stuff, folks… Gets those rusty ol’ wheels turning, eh?

It looks all little and cute here, like a paper weight!

It looks all little and cute here, like a paper weight!

Another from the same angle. Different day, different ink, and a bit of a different approach.

Another from the same angle. Different day, different ink, and a bit of a different approach.

There's that death grip.

There’s that death grip.

It's very disorienting to draw an upside-down head.

It’s very disorienting to draw an upside-down head.

Here's the first time I drew it from this particular angle. You can see the skin of the Nemean Lion really well from here.

Here’s the first time I drew it from this particular angle. You can see the skin of the Nemean Lion really well from here.

Can you imagine the strongest guy in the world bending your head back like that? Not that you could stop him, but would you even be able to put up a fight?

Can you imagine the strongest guy in the world bending your head back like that? Not that you could stop him, but would you even be able to put up a fight?

Lookit that handsome determination and them purdy little fingers! No, wait, don't lookit them fingers, that's a different statue.

Lookit that handsome determination and them purdy little fingers! No, wait, don’t lookit them fingers, that’s a different statue.

There are just so many lions.

There are just so many lions.

I could (and probly will... and probly should) do a whole ranting post about flayed animal skins in sculpture. It's so rad! Remember, the Nemean Lion was unstoppable before Herk came along. HEY! Patroclus, get yer upside-down face outta there!

I could (and probly will… and probly should) do a whole ranting post about flayed animal skins in sculpture. It’s so rad! Remember, the Nemean Lion was unstoppable before Herk came along. HEY! Patroclus, get yer upside-down face outta there!

Ohhh, just a hint of this one, eh? I see what you're up to...

Ohhh, just a hint of this one, eh? I see what you’re up to…