Dispatch from the Underworld, same neighborhood, different block.

I have switched gears just a bit, focusing on the Greek underworld of Hades instead of the Mesoamerican Xibalba.

It is most likely only a temporary distraction prompted by our  having recently purchasing a beta fish which we named Orpheus. He is a handsome fellow blue, pink and red and he inspired the palette a bit.

This latest watercolor (on paper , 18 by 24 inches) depicts that moment when Orpheus is so very  close to his goal, fleeing with fair Euryidice to the land of the living,alas he loses nerve,looks back and all is lost. It is a horrible story, made gorgeous by Gluck and countless visual artists.

Once again I try my hand at entering the visual conversation; once again I’m not sure what to think of the result.

My very dear friend Ken came to visit me this week, driving from LA to this underworld called San Diego. He felt I was depressed, for multiple reasons, but most particularly for my latest series of paintings. I’m not sure if I am depressed, but I do feel as if I am in a state of transition, a limbo not unlike that of Euryidice.

Difference being my limbo will most likely pass.

Orpheus and Euryidice
Orpheus and Euryidice

Doubt is imagined as a withered blue crone.

detail of Doubt, Orpheus and the unfortunate Euryidice

The following is a detail of the demon(ess).

detail of demon

The following is a detail of Mercury, reminding Eurydice she must return. I had forgotten Mercury was part of the narrative, happy he is as he is always one of the hottest gods around.

detail of Mercury

As I mentioned I was inspired by my beta fish for  some of the coloring; but as I found myself  painting the vegetation of Hades it began to resemble the Magic Rocks of my childhood. Those odd little bits of childish chemistry had somehow sizzled upon my decidedly unscientific little brain. Here they are popping out of the crevices of the underworld.

Although I had wanted to avoid hellfire, I hadn’t realized Magic Rocks came from Hell.

If interested and if you have 59 seconds to spare, follow this link for a video clip of Magic Rocks in action,

 Well I must go, it is Memorial Day weekend, a big deal in that David takes off for any holiday he can. So I must prepare.

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.

6 thoughts on “Dispatch from the Underworld, same neighborhood, different block.”

  1. I don’t know if I’ve just missed it before or if you’ve just added it, but I love the Flaubert quote at the top of your blog (and also this wonderful painting you’ve created–I like how your mind — and your hand — work.)

  2. Hello,
    Yes, it is a great quote, I’m happy you like it. Also pleased you like my daub.
    Take care,

  3. Hey, I want magic rocks!

    Your underworld vision is dizzying. Hermes/Mercury looks quite hermaphrodite, which is kind of appropriate. I find it a bit strange that Orpheus and Eurydice are touching, I always assumed they couldn’t, that if they could he wouldn’t have had to look back… Glad you like the Gluck version.

    Hope you have/had a good holiday. Take care you too!

  4. I want Magic Rocks as well, they seem very available online, given my black thumb they may just be the ticket.

    I hadn’t thought Hermes (which you are correct in addressing him as)looked hermaphroditic. That wasn’t the intention , but more and more I am trying to let the figures emerge as they want to. So there you go.

    Concerning touching, I don’t really remember that detail.I know he couldn’t look back, but I felt a blind flight with hands held tight would be touching emotionally. I confess I barely researched the myth, i didn’t want to revisit too deeply, as much as that is my inclination. I’m trying to free the painting up, I can so easily become boggled down by far greater interpretations , crippling at times I’m afraid.
    good to hear from you.

    1. Thank you my friend, and yes, I agree, when I am depressed I have difficulty doing anything, most particularly creating.

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