Perseus, completed for now…

Today is my birthday, a monumental one I suppose, a half century.

One year ago, on my last birthday, I put together a post when I was about to begin this painting. The painting was based upon the Perseus myth, but in a bit of gay revisionism, fair Andromeda was replaced by fair Andromedus. The post had many images of wonderful interpretations of the myth, far more wondrous than this daub, I recommend you check it out. But my point was exploring the theme from a personal perspective ; I didn’t think it a big deal. The theme has been mined before, exploring the grace of the female form is never without a bit of titilation; why not have a bit of fun by switching the gender.

Most readers of that post didn’t seem to have an issue but one reader did, and boy was he vocal. I foolishly tangled with him off-line and by conversation’s end was ready to throw away my palette. Suffice to say I did not, with the encouragement of many kind folks, most particularly Clive and Thom, I have plodded on, determined to find a means of expression.

Today the painting is essentially finished, always bits of glazing and tweaks here and there, but for now, finished.

The following is the image, but remember, it is my birthday so you must only say nice things.

Tomorrow, tell me what you really think.

Perseus and Andromedus
oil on canvas
30 by 40 inches

The following are details, like photos of puppies and nephews, it is difficult to determine how many images are necessary. Scroll down when boredom strikes.

the ephebe in distress

details of our hero


and the villain

the sea dragon

and a birthday cupcake from my niece Grace, a virtual treat, she has a cupcake app! As if I didn’t already feel old.

from Gracie

So there you are, I will continue on my Primer, but I am  rethinking the Greeks, time to visit Olympus once more.

My sister shipped this wonderful bust of Pallas Athena for my b’day, she will be perched high in my studio, hopefully the Grey Eyed Goddess will  guide my brush strokes.

from Kat

“H” is for Hun Hunahpu, the Maize God

In my imaginings, Hun Hunahpu is the Zeus of the Mesoamerican Olympus. There doesn’t really seem to be one supreme deity, various cultures favored one god over another; but it is undeniable that Hun Hunahpu is a major player of the Popol Vuh.

Without Hun Huahpu , man would languish without nourishment; for it is with his sacrifice and redemption that he brought forth maize, teosinte to native people. Teosinte translates as teo, godly or sacred and cintli which translates as maize= godly corn.

It is this godly corn from which man is fashioned to serve the gods. Ancient teosinte was apparently tri-colored: golden, red and blue. Native people saw the similarities in their own lovely golden bodies, rippled with blue veins and able to release radiant red blood when cut.

This imagery is very rich to me, which is perhaps why I have fetishized Hun Hunahpu, a pagan Savior for New Spain.

“H” is for Hun Hunahpu
watercolor on paper
18 by 11 inches

Clive was (is?) working on a particularly fetching Gawain, I was enchanted by the fair knight’s porcelain skin; this motivated my own pale radiant god. I tried to capture the tri-color palette within the limitations of the Primer palette. I failed to keep it monochrome with only one color. The siren call of  my paint box gets me every time. I did want to capture the veining that  Mesoamericans read as blue, and the golden quality of my god is apparent .

What is also apparent  is the homoerotic nature of the painting. I may make another more chaste version, I may not. I know I wanted the Maize God to look physically and sexually striking  , he is after all a fertility god! The “subtly” placed corn cob may be a bit excessive, but I couldn’t resist the visual pun.

I appreciate the indulgence.

I am finishing up a painting in oil, another bit of male pulchritude, I will present him next week, the gods willing.

Until that time,

take care,


“G”is for Gold

It isn’t an original thought to believe that New Spain was built upon a foundation of stolen gold; the Spanish lust for what the Aztecs called teocuitlatl is infamous. What is perhaps less known is the Aztec belief that gold was the excrement of the gods; although of value, gold paled next to the luster of jade and the sparkle of the quetzal feather. That said, what was wrought by the Aztecs was of such wonder that the great Albrecht Dürer (the son of a goldsmith) exclaimed upon seeing the golden booty:

“Also I saw the things which were brought to the King from the New Golden Land: a sun entirely of gold, a whole fathom broad; likewise, a golden moon, entirely of silver, just as big ;likewise, sundry curiosities from their weapons, armor, and missiles; very odd clothing, bedding, and all sorts of strange articles for human use, all of which is fairer to see than marvels. These things were all so precious that they were valued at a hundred thousand guilders. But I have never seen in all my days that which so rejoiced my heart, as these things. For I saw among them amazing artistic objects, and I marveled over the subtle ingenuity of the men in these distant lands. Indeed I cannot say enough about the things which were there before me.” (source:Mary Ellen Miller’s The Art of Mesoamerica). 

Alas these “artistic objects” that so thoroughly enchanted Dürer were melted down for the crass value of their base metal.

With that in mind I present “G” is for Gold; the acclaimed metalwork rendered in my own particular  Babylonian Baroque style.

“G” is for Gold
18 by 11 inches
watercolor on paper

My figure of the enthroned Motecuhzoma II was based upon a sketch from a recent life drawing session. The young model was particularly louche , this suggestive pose seemed appropriate for the last Emperor of Tenochtitlan. But upon completion I realized with the addition of an obviously camp head-dress the emperor now had a closer affinity to  Henry Cyril Paget, the 5th Marquess of Anglesey (the notorious “Dancing Marquess”) than a noble King.

Oh well.

The Dancing Marquess – Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey

I am now back home from a far too brief holiday, busily catching up, posts to follow.

Until that time,

take care,