Back to the Hermitage

This week is my husband’s birthday, I say week as he enjoys a weeklong celebration of this blessed day ( March 6th) ; I for one would rather forget my own birthday.

That said, David had taken off early last week in order to prepare for celebrations. It was a busy weekend with little opportunity to work in the studio. We certainly didn’t sit about, we painted his mother’s sitting room and the kitchen, all very fresh and happy- a pretty celery green. Gardening and luncheon with maiden auntie and mater, a little museum visit on kimono and obi designs of the 1960’s ,  cooking and dining and drinking; the usual time consuming “life” stuff. How do  productive folks balance it all? Planting artichoke seedlings is one thing, but painting, now that is another story.

That being the case the following is work from last week. I am working at the suggestion of my friend Clive Hicks-Jenkins on incorporating maquettes into my studio practice. Maquettes being little puppet like figures articulated by paper fasteners ( I have since found incredibly teeny little fasteners at Michaels- a shop I cannot tolerate but often has just the perfect oddball device). Clive provided instructions in making a maquette which have been incredibly valuable. I am probably more OCD than Clive would like, but as I gain confidence I’m sure I will loosen up.

My current interest is the Creation Myth of the Mesoamericans, the Popol vuh. In time I will give more details about the mythic cycle, it is very exciting stuff and provides me with relatively unexplored subject matter- at least by Westerners. What I intend to explore is the significance of the story as seen from an outsider perspective. Not very different from chinoiserie in 17th and 18th century Europe. In fact a major influence is once again Poussin and his heroic figures.The following articulated figure is of Xbalanque,  one of a pair of Hero Twins, a staple in Mesoamerican visual culture. It is safe to say they are not usually depicted as I have chosen to depict them.

As I mentioned the figure was inspired by Poussin, in this instance The Magnanimity of Scipio, this being a very poor detail taken from my phone. In fact all of the images seem pretty paltry, I will need to work on adjusting the settings.

Another image of the Xbalanque maquette.

As I mentioned I have been interested in the Popol huh for some time, the following is a detail of a larger oil that I am working on still, this image being of the Hero Twins.

I frankly haven’t a clue as to why this is such a large image, but so it is. I will close with this cinematic vision, it is close to 9 am and i must get to work cutting and snipping and making use of my dandy little fasteners. 

Until next time,


Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

3 thoughts on “Back to the Hermitage”

  1. I love the idea of making maquettes and think you’re really onto something. Being able to manipulate the figures to explore the use of posture as it relates to your theme is genius! Also, I think your use of color in the painting (last image) is an interesting study of how color can influence an emotional response and support your thesis (is that the proper word? sorry, not too articulate this morning) and I love it! Great start, Leonard. Exciting to see the process.

    1. You are correct, the maquettes are great fun and a marvelous tool but the genius and subsequent inspiration is all due to Clive.
      Thanks for popping in.

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