Final Painting of 2012, Resurrection of the Father

I have for several months been working on a rather large painting in between my printmaking assignments. I am afraid it has been treated a bit like the ugly step-child.

As I am now on winter break I was eager to give the painting the attention I thought it deserved. My intention was to create a simpler, more direct narrative. Working on a larger painting was far less challenging than my previous paintings; having spent 2o some years painting murals I am far more comfortable with big. Small paintings leave me feeling cramped, perhaps that may explain the somewhat less successful earlier paintings. I do know that I hope to continue with at least 40 by 50 inch format in the future.

I have called the painting The Resurrection of the Father, please pardon the terrible quality of the image.


The Resurrection of the Father

oil on canvas

40 by 50 inches

The painting was inspired by my continuing fascination with the Popol Vuh narrative; in this instance when the Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque retrieve the remains of their sacrificed father Hun Hunahpu. Working with my well worn maquettes I created a simpler composition than I have in the past.


I did not fashion my Maize God as I have before, instead I took my inspiration from an early fertility figure found in the Columbia River region of western Oregon. I stumbled upon this treasure when David and I visited Portland Art Museum last summer, we were both enchanted by the priapic fellow. As we are planning to move to Portland in 2014 or so, he seemed a suitable totem for our mutual aspirations.

1999_58Stone Figure

Columbia River region

ca.1000-1500 A.D.

Basalt, 55 1/2 x 17 x 6 1/2 in.


I am now in the throes of another painting , readying for an interview with an art school in Portland and of course the upcoming Spring semester. I am also trying to enjoy the final hours of 2012. Wishing all of my blogging chums a very happy 2013! 

Until next year,

be well,


Minotaur Mania Continues

As 2012 nears to end I am tidying up the studio and finishing up what paintings I can. One such painting is this small oil (20 by20) that follows, The Widow Theseus.

It is a continuation upon a theme, that of the relationship between the monster and the hero, who is the victim, who is the victor.

The Widow Theseus
The Widow Theseus

As I mentioned it is part of theme I  have explored in previous posts (filed under Theseus and the Minotaur) and more recently in my printmaking class. I also dabbled a bit in the unfamiliar medium of pastel (and graphite). The following is the result, The Approach of Theseus, 12 by 18 inches on paper.


Printmaking has been an enjoyable challenge for me, not unlike clay work. I enjoy the process, have  tended to dislike my resultsI have made numerous prints of the Minotaur, few pass muster. The following, though far from perfect is approaching what I am after. Once again it is based upon a very loose sketch and once again I am relatively pleased with the translation.

The Broken Minotaurrelief print on paper
The Broken Minotaur
relief print on paper

This so far is what I have , will most likely continue upon this them throughout the new year.

Until next time,

take care,


Final Christmas Tidbits for Gracie

I am about to send out my niece’s holiday package, obviously it will be ridiculously late, a pattern she better accustom herself to.

As my last post made clear I am trying to refrain from purchasing  many gifts.  In addition to the previously mentioned hand-puppets I have been busy making book-plates. Clive was the inspiration , I wonder if he was aware of my cursing as I hand pressed each and every damned bookplate. I ought to have Popeye’s arms when I am finished.

 A sampling of the bookplates so far:

Athenian bookplates for Gracie
Athenian bookplates for Gracie

Grace is stuck with a theme this holiday, the theme being the grey eyed Athena, her bookplate is an illustration of the divine one. My intention wasn’t for such a severe plate, my initial drawing was slightly softer, but the cutting went where it went. Personally I like the plate, not sure what my disney- princess- loving niece will think.  She will have to grow into it.

Grace will also receive my athena print, I’ve posted this before but not in its shiny pink frame. I know Grace will like the frame at least.

athena in the pink
athena in the pink

The back of the print has a prayer to the grey eyed one. The printmaking technique is rainbow roll, something I do  not particularly care for but it might please my dazzle-eyed niece.

prayer card to athena
prayer card to athena

I did purchase a few books for Grace, I was particularly happy with the book on Athena  I found at the wonderful Getty villa in Malibu. I’m hoping I can successfully convert the girl to classicism ; the Getty would be the perfect place (in the States anyway) to introduce her to the wonders of Greece and Rome.

holiday books for Grace.
holiday books for Grace.

I stumbled upon some blank puzzles, which are a lot of fun to paint. I picked a goat as it seemed suitably Greco-Roman, plus they are terribly cute.

billy goat gruff
billy goat gruff

Into the package  I  have thrown in a little something for my sister and my brother-in-law.  Gregory is a pious man, so I thought my recent relief print of St. Benedict of Palermo might be suitable.  I hope so.

St.Benedict of Palermo
St.Benedict of Palermo

Putting this package together, I realized I have not actually seen or held my niece since 2008. My sister Kat and Grace flew out for our wedding and we were able to see what a delightful child she was. She has certainly grown and I have missed many chances to see her develop. I’m hoping this package can be a  way of fostering an intimacy from such a great distance as it is difficult for a great many reasons for me to fly out and see her personally.

Grace and her uncle2008
Grace and her uncle


I am now eager to get back to painting, I have a few more bookplates to make. One for my niece-to- be Lulu, her mother went into labor this morning! Such excitement . Plus one plate for dear friends, but after that I need paint under my nails. 

Wishing all holiday cheer,

until next time,

take care,


Trashcan Trio

I am in the midst of gathering gifts for my niece Grace. I’m trying to buy as little as possible, not because I am a tightwad (although I am) but as a matter of principle. I’m disheartened by how much our society purchases and how little we actually make. William Morris had concerns that the Industrial Revolution would destroy the craft spirit and I fear he was, once again,  right on target. What is particularly perverse was my instinct to run to the local craft store to BUY craft materials in order to make home-made toys.  Madness.

I did succumb (thus far) to one purchased gift, a book (actually several, but books are exempt from my embrace of stoicism).

It is a charming book , called The Art Room, it’s meant for children my niece’s age, kindergarten through 1st and 2nd grade. Lots of funny craft ideas such as making your own throne *(everyone needs a throne), imaginative button crafts and refashioning  junk shop frames into gilded masterpieces.

What I loved was that most projects started with materials culled from the trash bin and the recycling can. I wanted to make sure Grace would  have as  little trouble as possible  following the instructions so I tested some of the projects in my studio, mostly wooden spoon/junk drawer puppets and what the authors called Portrait Plates-chipped chinaware tarted up with paint and glitter and silliness.

The following are the three puppets I made for Grace, The Trashcan Trio:


The point of the puppets was to use only what I could find in the jumble of my garage and studio, I rummaged through my fabric box, my toolbox, my holiday wrapping center and the garden shed. Fortunately I have a lot of crap and was able to rather quickly cobble together this trio. I think they are funny and I hope Grace gets a kick out of them. More importantly I hope she is inspired to make her own.

Persephone misc junk, lids, spool, printer's rag, holiday ornament, spit and glue.
misc junk, lids, spool, printer’s rag, holiday ornament, spit and glue.
Gerome the Gnomewooden spoon, old boxers, plastic spoons, paint, florist moss
Gerome the Gnome
wooden spoon, old boxers, plastic spoons, paint, florist moss
Aphroditewooden spoon, shredded crepe paper, button, old fabric from my friend Loreen.
wooden spoon, shredded crepe paper, button, old fabric from my friend Loreen.

I also followed directions for a portrait plate, the authors were channeling Picasso’s wonderful ceramics and I’m going to pop a small volume of the master’s work into my niece’s gift box. Never to young to meet Pablo.

Neptunechipped plate, paint, florist moss, varnish.
chipped plate, paint, florist moss, varnish.

This is a lot of silliness, but I hope Grace has fun with it.

She is quite the budding artist, my sister Kat is drowning in her “masterpieces”- that is what my niece very immodestly calls everything she makes. I envy her hubris.

My thought was if Grace had actual examples she might be inclined to craft her own. I hope so.

I will be shipping it all out at the end of the week to Philadelphia, I wish I could be there and have craft time with her personally. This will have to suffice.


I have , after taking Clive’s lead, carved a bookplate for Grace. I will run an imprint in the a.m., eager to see the result.

Until next time,

take care,