I am on a Minotaur jag, conversations with Clive have me thinking about the theme. I want to explore possible emotional themes concerning the unfortunate beastie while at the same time avoiding the Beauty and the Beast trope. I have a lot of territory to explore.
I was assigned by my printmaking instructor to put together a full value sketch for our next assignment, mono-printing.
No problem, delighted to oblige.
What I find surprising is how most of the class does not share my enthusiasm for this part of the process.
I-phones in hand they download an image and create from such a micro source- it boggles my old weary eyes.
I overcompensate at times and this sketch became a finished drawing.
I’m happy about that, I have wanted to play with the Minotaur theme for quite some time. Picasso an inspiration for subject matter if not aesthetic approach, Clive’s gorgeous horse-men also prompted me along , but most especially Blake’s incredible illustration for Dante’s Inferno.
I love the half beast-half man being truly half beast and not just sporting a bull mask (although Picasso’s Minotaurs cannot be beat for pure erotic appeal).
Theseus, described as young and handsome, was of course a delight to depict-thank goodness there aren’t many plain Greek heroes.
Detail of Theseus.
The following was a beautiful inspiration for the awful Minotaur, an inspiration I failed to follow.
(It can be found in the Museum of Athens. It is incredible, I would love to visit the mad beast.)
When researching the Minotaur myth I found few examples of the “centaur” version as depicted so beautifully by Blake.
Although there is little stylistic similarities in my drawing to the Blake, I think with mono-printing I may be able to capture Blake’s well- studied spontaneity. I will post the results.
I was delighted and spooked when the Minotaur theme entered popular culture. On one of our favorite television shows, Dexter, last evening’s episode featured a terrible murderous villain obsessed with the myth. It was a truly frightening.
Printmaking is progressing onwards, seventh week already; received my first grade for the etching/aquatint segment of course. I’m pleased with the grade.
I’m less pleased with my actual mastery of this tricky medium, trying to be patient and enjoy the discoveries.
It would be lovely if I were a relaxed, easy going southern Californian like my fellow students, everything that is produced is “G-r-e-a-t!!!!”.
Their enthusiasm is exhausting.
Anyway, the following print was designed to showcase my understanding of the various techniques taught within the last few weeks.
I upped the ante a bit by choosing a larger plate (9 by 12) and focusing on drypoint which everyone in class including the teacher seems to shun; I love the technique. The techniques are a soft ground transfer, with drypoint and aquatint ; the aquatint failed multiple times to produce sufficiently dark value- the plate became warped and the rosin would not settle properly. I compensated with drypoint.
The above image was printed in a particularly pretty blue, I also ran a run in graphite, pretty color, but a bit weak.
Actually, I rather like the color.
My first proof was just the soft ground etching, which I liked, reminded me of a very primitive Flaxman print.
We initially begin the project with a value drawing.
My inspiration for the print was from a spectacular Syrian bas relief of the 10th or 9th century; I’m crazy for its archaic quality and its humor.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu Slaying Humbaba
basalt relief, from palace of King Kapara at Toll Halaf, Syria.
10th-9th cent. B.C.
When I began this class I also began a large painting, 50 by 60 inches. Taking Clive’s advice I decided to move the action forward (the Syrian relief an inspiration). I made use of my Hero Twin maquettes and have been busy painting since. I am nearing completion.
Until I post the final image I thought I would tease with my preparatory sketch.
Well I must get on with my day, an evening class but first a studio day to work out a plan for for mono prints, our next adventure!