Great Jumping Tlaloc

My friend and mentor, the very talented artist, Clive Hicks-Jenkins (link to his site) inspired me to work with maquettes  some time ago. He thought  that the flexible little paper mannequins would aid my compositions.

They have, but they have also become a joy unto themselves.

I make them because they bring me pleasure. I recently found myself inspired to craft an uber-maquette of the great rain god Tlaloc. I figured since he was such a flexible fellow he would make a fine mechanical doll, a Jumping Jack or if you want to be fancy, a pantin.  My Nana would bring me German-made pantins as a boy; this mega Jumping Tlaloc brings me the same joy although he is considerably larger than my childhood playthings, he measures at 41″.


acrylic on cardboard, brass fasteners, string

41 inches high

There is a certain degree of elaborate stringing to make the fellow “jump”, but once strung he is quite lively. Below you will find the great god in his  relaxed state.


As I experiment with depictions of the rain god, I have been dressing him in a fearsome mask. But under this fearsome exterior one finds a gentle god. Seems reasonable given he brings forth rain and life. I was inspired by this colonial image of Tlaloc.

1458431_572409069511998_211111241_n copyAnd his mask is based upon traditional depictions typically found on vessels.

1460037_572408966178675_1751846934_n copy

I need to paint the brads still and make a few adjustments with paint and string, but he so delighted me, I was eager to post the fellow.

After I figured out the logistics of pantin-making I stumbled upon this handy-dandy template. Pretty much the same as my own but thought I would share I ( I do not know the pattern’s maker, please let me know if you do).

pantin homme face

Well until next time, take care,


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.

6 thoughts on “Great Jumping Tlaloc”

  1. Oh what a splendid chap he is. Handsome with a surprise. (Pull the string and watch him jump! What’s not to love?) What a clever idea, Leonard. I’m hugely touched to have been credited as your inspirer of all things maquette-ish, and I’m endlessly impressed by how hard you worked to conquer the challenge and make the form your own. You and Zoe Blue in particular not only made maquettes the year we had the maquette ‘challenge’ at the Artlog, but have continued to use them profitably to serve your disciplines, which was what I’d really hoped for. It gives me the greatest pleasure to see you both moving on so surely, going from strength to strength. Well done.

    1. Dear Clive,
      You are certainly my mentor and my inspiration, even though our aesthetic vision follow different course at times -yet always meet up when handsome fellows are concerned 🙂
      I too am impressed by Zoe. I for one think she has mastered their use better than I have. I love making them, and I keep them around, but I do not paint directly from them. What they do do is remind me of how I want the body to be presented. That I suppose is enough for now, a part of my process.
      So thank you.
      I have been enjoying the creating of Turquoise Fellow.
      Be well,

    1. Thanks Phil, Thanks to clive’s guidance I have pretty much figured out the construction-adding the mechanical stringing only added to the pleasure of creating.

  2. wow, this is awesome, that mask is phenomenal!! so handsome, and i love those straps around his calves! and don’t you have a puppet, here? 😀 how is everyone progressing so quickly??

    1. Thank you friend. No he isn’t my puppet, will probably go with simple childish-monstrous hand puppets. but I’m happy you like him. He is being submitted to a juried show devote to work on paper, so wish me and HIM luck!

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