Out of the Mouth of Hell

I’ve missed making maquettes, so as my painting was drying I decided yesterday’s rain provided a great opportunity to clip away.

I chose as my subject a place as opposed to a character . I chose Hell Mouth, the mythic entrance to the Underworld.

There isn’t any reference to Hell Mouth in the Popol Vuh, but what the hell (pun intended). What is mentioned is the characters entering and leaving the Underworld through a cave-like portal. The device of the Hell Mouth, as I mentioned in an earlier post has many incarnations: Medieval and Elizabethan Morality plays, monastic manuscripts, Renaissance pleasure gardens, examples are found in Asia, even in Mesoamerica. I am cobbling together a post on this hellish topic on my other blog, Babylon Baroque, link found on side bar.

Update: new post on Hell Mouth up and running, check out Babylon Baroque, link in sidebar.

My own vision of Hell Mouth is more Morality play theatrics than tasteful Renaissance grandeur, I have taste as subtle as a train wreck. My vision may lack discretion but boy can it articulate.


 I’m not sure if it is clear but the lower “jaw” of the gate is fastened by a brad allowing it to be raised drawbridge fashion.

 Dancing Demons on the lower jaw of Hell.

One part of the narrative is when the underworld princess Xquic is told to leave the Underworld by her Maize God spouse; pregnant with his children,the Hero Twins, she flees the sulphur aided by three owls (one depicted). As can be seen I had a bit of fun putting the tableau together.

The Flight of Xquic

As I mentioned the lower jaw raises to better trap snarling demons and intrepid Hero Twins. Detached it provides a dandy bit of stage setting as can be scenes above in the ghoulish disco.

 Entrapment at the Gate of Hell

Details follow, I like the wrathful demon and the little articulated gargoyle, the lower jaw of the gargoyle moves as does his body, not very necessary but fun to play with.

Well that is it for now, I may put together the aforementioned post or I may return to the studio. The spouse returns tonite, I might not return to these pages until next week, until that time, take care.


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.

12 thoughts on “Out of the Mouth of Hell”

  1. Oh my gosh, you’ve been having a creative bonanza! What a fantastic flowering! I’m speechless!

    This is all wonderfully exciting. You have the soul of a Czech Surrealist! Little did I think when I suggested you make maquettes that such wonders would be unleashed.

  2. Well my grandmother was Czech!
    I like to think of myself as a Symbolist with surreal inclinations

  3. A Czech grandmother. Well there we are then. You have art and graphic design in your gene pool!

    Leonard, can you be thinking about selecting maquette images to send me? I ask now because you’ve produced so many figures that it may take time for me to get things organised this end. You might consider setting up a dedicated photo session to produce maquette images for me. In the images here on your blog the figures sometimes overlap the grounds on which you’ve placed them (such as with the Birthday Demon) which is a bit distracting. I think the textile grounds, too, take away from the maquettes. Could you have a think about this and get back to me? Simple, clean backgrounds show the figures to best advantage, especially as I’m trying to unify the online exhibition as best I can. There will be some variation… Chloe, for example, has painted a mottled blue ground against which she wants to show her horses… but for the most part I’m trying to convince participants to concentrate on simplicity of presentation.

    Consider, also, showing the processes of making the maquettes. As yours are so complex, I think the early stages would be interesting for people to see.

    Sorry to be a pain by giving you more jobs to do. I want to show your work to best possible advantage!

    1. Yes, that has been on my mind, trying to figure out which to present and how. I understand perfectly about the grounds. Many of the selections and photographs were made late in the evening after a long day at work- my judgement may have been off a bit. Frankly I haven’t viewed the posts since.
      What I was thinking of was a white background, the last post, this post, I thought the best as the background provided a bit of shadow. I had thought of adding a slight suggestion of narrative context with the addition of a few graphic lines in black. That was my intention, but if that proves to distracting for the show at large I will forgo that direction.
      I haven’t really recorded the process but I was going to make a few more maquettes so I will snap a few images as I go along.
      Shall I send images to you directly or would you rather a blog post, as per “dedicated photo session?; anyway that makes it easier for you. I admire but do not envy the task.
      Thank you, you are so NOT a pain!

  4. Send to me directly, Leonard. That way I can pop the images directly into the file ready for building the post. I realise at this stage that it’s going to be quite a task and may even have to be divided into a few posts, so I want to have all the images, trimmed and ready for use in one spot. Send me any text, too, that you want included. A statement or anything like that. That’s optional of course, so don’t feel compelled. I just want to offer all the opportunities for the artists to promote their works and express their views..

  5. Whoah! Now I really want to tell a lie and write that Clive has said that all maquettes must feature in an animation or he won’t be showing them. Really though, wouldn’t it be lovely?

    1. Well I feel I am inching in that direction, the more you play with these little buggers the more you want them to move about. working on the Hero Twins- right now- will be up soon, THEN let the action begin!

  6. oh my god, i’m floored! i love the way you have depicted the pregnancy, and the “cheshire” owl 😀
    the snake-addled man with blue toenails…. what an enthralling place!

    1. Thank you my friend, that gnarly fellow is an unpleasant “tea-bagger” at the gym- i damned him to hell (:

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