Time and Gratitude

As the year comes to a close I have been fretting about Time; the familiar angst of many, of not  having enough and  of too much that has slipped through my fingers.  My own face has betrayed this passage of time and although I am mortified by my own vanity I find the evidence of  my mortality excruciating . I chuckled at myself while at the gym this morning, these pretty rosy-faced boys milling about and I gaze at the endless mirrors at my own visage-I have in attempt to distract from the effects of gravity , half heartedly started growing a beard, sadly I do not look ruggedly handsome but more like a destitute reprobate.

Vanity, there is a reason it is one of the Seven Deadlies.

I can chuckle at myself so that is a good sign, particularly as I had the thoroughly un-original epiphany that the only effective solution to aging is Death-I’ll pass for now. 

IMG_4581Death and the Maiden

oil on canvas


This silly fretting about time is absurd particularly given how many loved ones I have known, including my first partner Douglas, that have died far, far too young. It seems trite ( and frankly untrue) to say I appreciate the wrinkles of Time but I will give gratitude a shot this year.

Wish me luck and wishing all a rich and fulfilling 2014.

With gratitude and sincerityLg

Sometimes you just want to draw…prepping for 2014

I have for the last several months  been ruminating upon a large canvas to tackle. I want a big scene, along the lines of my beloved Pousssin, but as usual tackling a Meso/metaphysical theme. Old gods, Gnosis, toppled usurping false gods all play a part in this newly conceived project. After notebooks of doodled ideas , oil sketches,elevated renderings and readings, I have begun fleshing out details.


A familiar cast of characters, including from right a little Teotihuacan fellow, Tlaloc with lightening/storm cloud staff, Quetzalcoatl descending from above, She of the Serpent Skirt,Coatlicue, and the great and mighty war god Huitzilopochtli clutching his mother’s serpentine skirt.

A bit of the process for tackling a large (or small) project.

 Spontaneous sketching, confirming ideas.




More sketches, some in color,


Elevation renderings to help determine composition,


and now, working out details, what stays , what goes, more color compositional sketches…I’m daunted already.Looking forward to seeing how it professes, wish me luck.

Take care, Lg

Feliz Navidad

As the year winds down I am trying to complete a few last paintings.

This painting The Virgin Birth of Huitzilopochtli I finished last evening. A few little tweaks here and there, but it is complete…for now. This has been an aesthetic experiment and it has been a difficult birth (cheap pun, forgive me).

After departing Tenochtitlan I have been inspired by the geometric forms of Aztec visual expression. How in spite of their often fearsome appearance,I sense the humanity, the complexities of this culture. Even this narrative, the virgin birth of their most revered god, the fire/war god Huitzilopochtli (Tlaloc, the rain god a close second), which has obvious similarities to the Christian salvation narrative is imbued with both violence and tenderness.

The great goddess Coatlicue , She of the Skirt of Serpents,  is miraculously with child, this new violent god who will bring the people wealth through tribute . His siblings the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui and her fellow siblings the Centzonhuitznahuah are full of rage at the dishonor such a claim makes.  A virgin birth, through a stray feather is as absurd as a teenage Hebrew girl chatting it up with the Angel of Yahwah. They set upon their wayward mother ready to tear her to pieces;  miraculously Huitzilopochtli is born fully armed and prepared to smite the usurpers. The famous (and spectacular) Coatlicue Stone a striking  indigenous illustration of the carnage.

The following is my own interpretation , imbuing the narrative with traditional nativity tenderness, let the blood-letting hold for the moment.


The Virgin Birth of Huitzilopochtli


oil on canvas

24 by 36 inches

I have placed the lunar goddess Coyolxauhqui in the upper right corner, her siblings the vengeful Centzonhuitznahuah sitting in judgement on the left; as a hint of hope the Plumed Serpent Quetzalcoatl splashes about awaiting his own return. For perspective , I have enclosed some traditional examples of this great pantheon:

P1000331 copyCoatlicue-National Museum of Anthropology


Coyolxuahqui-Templo Major


Huitzilopochtli-not sure of source other than wikipedia.

I have more work ahead , but I was eager to finish this painting before my own celebration of that OTHER virgin birth.

Viva la Virgens!

Take care, Lg

Honoring the Virgens

As the feast day of the Virgen de Guadalupe dwindles to a close I have been busy working on a relief print of the OTHER virgin birth, that of Coatlicue bringing forth the fearsome fire god  Huitzilopochtli.


Sanctified Huitzilopochtli

Artist’s proof, relief print on paper

This is just an artists proof, it will be part of my series of “Bodega Baroque” votive candles dedicated to the Old Gods.

What I love about living in this region, where devotion to the Virgen is so widespread, is this sense of WHICH Virgen are we speaking of on this feast day?

The kindly brown skinned girl we all love, or the ancient madonnas of Mesoamerica?

Many scholars believe ( as do I) that the dark Roman Catholic Madonna is in fact an ancient, browner goddess.The goddess Tonantzin, “Our Mother”, being  a reasonable predecessor ; this link provides some interesting  and concise opinions.

Tonantzin:Our Mother

Tonantzin-Our Mother (image sourced from link above ).

I’m enchanted most particularly with She of the Skirts of Serpents, mother of us all, but most particularly of the brutal and demanding Aztec fire god Huitzilopochtli. She was about to be torn to shreds by her wrathful children, indignant by her so-called “immaculate conception”; but in a grand bit of theater, Huitzilopochtli swoops in fully armed and annihilates his siblings. A far cry from a sweet nativity setting, but what an engaging narrative.

P1000331 copyCoatlicue, from our recent trip to the Museum of Anthropology.

I’ve been working on three paintings, one of which is this virgin birth, almost finished, here is an early peek.


 As this is the season of Virgin Births, I have been working on holiday cards. Sadly without a proper press, relying upon the old wooden spoon, suffice to say my right side is aching. Thus far 25 on this “Chinois” paper, still counting.


Well I must get back to work,

until next time take care,