From Yesterday’s Sketchbook

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.

Theseus and the Minotaur

Until next time,

take care,


A Blast from the Past


What seems like many moons ago, I painted the dressing room ceiling of my friend Eleanor. She posted this image on her Facebook page, bringing back very fond memories.

 Eleanor has a fantastic collection of jewels and fashion, what would be more suitable to guard her treasures than a fierce dragon.

The room and the painted decoration were a nod to Brighton Pavilion, a shared passion of the client and of the painter.

Brighton Dragon, Eleanor’s dressing room

Until next time,

take care,


Theseus and the Minotaur

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).

detail of Theseus and the Minotaur

Theseus, described as young and handsome, was of course a delight to depict-thank goodness there aren’t many plain Greek heroes.

Theseus and the Minotaur
pencil on paper
18 by 24 inches

Detail of Theseus.

detail of the hero prince

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. 

Well  ,back to work,

until next time,


Gligamesh and Enkidu and other beefy fellows.


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 Vanquished Humbaba
9 x12

The above image was printed in a particularly pretty blue, I also ran a run in graphite, pretty color, but a bit weak.

graphite run

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.

first proof

We initially begin the project with a value drawing.

Initial preparatory drawing for the “Vanquished Humbaba”

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.

Syrian basalt relief

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.

Preparatory sketch for the “Resurrection of the Father” with maquettes of the Hero Twins.

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!

 Take care, LG