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

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 “Perseus, completed for now…”

  1. Happy, happy birthday!! How nice it must feel to have that lovely sensation of finishing a new painting right at the time of a milestone birthday.
    Anyway, congratulations, and I love how everything you make is always so incredibly vivid.
    Best wishes to you!

    i love the painting, the tree-island with its rivulets and especially that dragon! the dragon’s feet are very cleverly done, and the wings have a little detail that makes me think of peacocks (fantastic for a dragon, i think).
    that skeleton hanging there is just horrific…but what nice, muscular men you conjure 😀 our thanks, sir 😀

    1. Thank you Zoe, I love designing monsters as I no you do from your recent blue demon. I’m happy you noticed the details from bone to bicep!

  3. So sorry to have missed your birthday, Leonard. Life here has been on the complicated side for quite a while now, and there are days when I get so far behind that things pass me by. I hope it was a grand celebration. The half century is significant in so many ways. Suffice to say that in matters of art, since that Perseus post a year ago, you have leapt off the precipice, opened your wings and soared off into the heavens. You have well and truly seen off your detractor with this magnificent final answer, delivered not in words but in joyful imagery. (One can only hope that he’s sloped off somewhere to steep in his own bile!) Andromedus is quite a hunk, with his sweet blue-eyed, cornfed ‘Aw shucks, no-one ever called me beautiful before’ appeal! Fascinating details in every corner. All most satisfying. I hope your’e well-pleased with the result my friend. You should be.

  4. Hello,no problem at all, I hope life’s complication are the sort that bring about satisfaction. It was a happy day, the Spouseman is now home so we will celebrate properly over the weekend.
    You tickle me with your language and I love you for it. Yes, I leapt and will continue to leap; I am slowly, painfully slowly, relinquishing past expectations and allowing the work to be as it is, a personal expression. My detractor, and he was only one, not an army as my easily wounded Ego imagines , seems to have slinked off,thankfully.
    Andromedus is indeed an American boy, hadn’t planned that; but there are so many pretty pumped up boys I have seen at the gym over the decades that have seared their beauty deep into my vision.
    Thank you for your observations and your phenomenal support, you are a great gift from whatever keeps this planet spinning in place.
    btw, the next big painting is going to very deliberately draw upon a maquette composition, I fear stiff-limbedness, will need to work that out. As you have advised I will make oodles of preparatory sketches. I’m going to use the Hero Twin maquettes I cobbled together before.

    1. Zoe should be a big inspiration to you on the maquette front. She’s really nailed the compositional possibilities that come from being very creative in the ways she arranges them. That last post of hers was a masterclass in exploring positive and negative shape. There are paintings ready to be mined in all the arrangements she’s photographed. Indeed, she should be making a whole series of great paintings from them. So confident is she now in the arranging of figures and the expression of her ideas through them, that she makes compositions that need no other elements. A while back, in her pre-maquetting days, Zoe’s compositions were always interesting, but they often featured quite small figures rattling around in large spaces filled with landscapes, buildings etc. The intensity was diminished by the distance the viewer was held from the action. Now she homing in on the things that always interested her most… the protagonists… and the result is that the figures themselves become everything she needs, their dynamic arrangements of flying limbs and costumes, becoming landscapes in their own rights. The power in those last images comes from pushing the figures so close to the viewer that there is nowhere for the eye to go or the mind to explore, other than the intense drama that she presents. You might try using your maquettes in a likewise manner, just as an experiment to help you get into the action and under the skin without other distractions. Don’t abandon what you’re currently exploring, which I understand and admire, by the way, but just focus in on the close-up for the sake of exploration, and you might find yourself undergoing some revelations! Those wonderful maquettes of yours are beautiful and fascinating objects in their own rights, but I think you’ve yet to explore the possibilities that reside in them. Seriously! Think about it Leonard. You’ve got a fantastic box of fireworks there, but you’ve yet to light the touch-papers! (-;

      1. oh, the flying limbs and costumes becoming landscapes in their own rights–i can only hope! i could cry from this comment–you are the inspiration, here: your creations, methods, ideas, even lessons! –but i am happy beyond words that you are pleased with what i’ve done with them.
        i have felt that the figures are more compelling when brought out to the front, but it’s a constant battle for me to not include every other possible detail that comes to mind until the painting stretches to cover the entire world that they inhabit in my mind (making all of it somehow more real). right now the issue i’m having with that particular composition is almost exactly that–there are other items i want to include, but i’m also looking at pushing the figures even further front; i can’t seem to be satisfied either way :P.

        leonard, those maquettes of the hero twins and the whole amazing sequence of interactions with the mouth of hell are wondrous, i am in awe of the details of each character (the owls!!) and can’t wait to see more from them. it will be interesting to see how you will go with this different approach–i love your landscapes, especially the trees and yawning caves, as they seem to be their own characters, but for a confrontation, the idea of pushing the characters out front in a mass of limbs sounds very effective–and in a series of paintings, the contrast will have an enormous impact, i would think!

      2. I understand the conflict as to what to focus upon, it is a challenge!
        I too am struggling with composition at the moment, avoiding it actually (:, but I want to explore something a bit bolder. I love narrative painting with all the bits and pieces, it is my natural inclination; but this painting i see as more painterly and expressive. I hope so but I won’t commit until I better understand where I am going. I DO know the colors I wish to use, so that is a step that helps me along the path of darkness.

  5. Hi Clive,
    I saw that last post of Zoe’s, i was blown away and told her as much.
    Peculiar you mention zooming in with the composition.The painting that is germinating is confrontational in that the Hero Twins resurrect their Father. I was thinking of having next to zero background aside from vibrant coloring, a vague landscape at best. I’m still not sure how literally to take the mannequins but will work that out in the sketches. I’m going to start on Monday.
    I appreciate the advice, “flying limbs ‘is what I have in mind, so your words are an encouragement . I confess a bit of anxiety, the approach I want is expressive and it makes me nervous!
    We went to the opening at the local San Diego art museum, an extraordinary collection of German Expression, impressive for such a provincial town. I was really inspired to push forward, in my own way, in a similar direction.
    I’ve printed out your advice, it will hang on the studio wall as I begin, so in a way, you will be there when I light the tinderbox.
    Thanks, LG

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