Of Greenmen and Goodbyes

Chapters close.

For close to twenty-five years I was a decorative painter; now I spend my time happily and productively in the studio. In my career as a decorative painter very few memories are fond, but the work with my friend Eleanor was a great romp.  For a quick peak at that period of my life, visit my former site , Here.

 Today, chapters are closing and new ones opening for Eleanor : the house I helped decorate is being emptied and her new , even more delightful home awaits her .

There is melancholy in knowing all of the work we lavished so much attention upon is in the hands of strangers, who knows what will happen to it.

But time moves on, enclosed are  just a few snapshots of the Greenmen we decorated the entry hall with; Greenmen being a shared passion. 







Wishing Eleanor all the best on her new adventure, so much new, in so many ways, awaits .



Sophia, the Apotheosis of…

I have been reading several books concerning gnosticism, schisms and the early church fathers. Most are academic but piece of fiction has been a great pleasure,Flaubert’s monumental The Temptation of St. Anthony. The edition I have has a very handy glossary which has made this mad jumble of opinion/characters/branches somewhat manageable.

That said I do not suggest that I understand fully all the various manifestation of gnosis. But one manifestation of the Supreme One, the aeon Sophia (wisdom) is of particular interest. My understanding is that she is the mother of Zoe (life) who brought light to Adam who apparently lacked a spiritual spark. I’ve attempted to depict that seminal moment in my painting Gnosis…and the Old Gods Were Pleased.  Link to that painting: HERE

This painting is an icon of the blessed Sophia, mother of wisdom and truth.

I like the idea of focusing upon being an icon painter to the Old Gods.

IMG_4854Sophia, the Apotheosis of…


oil on panel

18 by 24 inches

My interest in gnosticism was sparked by a BBC-In Our Time podcast; I had skimmed over some Elaine Pagels books off and on, but this short podcast brought clarity to a perplexing and fascinating subject. I’m addicted to the In Our Time series,  it has become a constant studio companion. If interested you should listen to the following link HERE.

A bit of good news fell in my direction this week, on my way to yoga I popped into a gallery with some wonderful paintings, work that I really related to on a visceral level. Chatting with the proprietor of the gallery was very pleasant and informative, I exchanged cards which I feared presumptuous. But happily he emailed me the next day to schedule a studio visit. That was quite exhilarating and the wonderful news is that  he would like to include me in some upcoming shows he has planned.

The Old Gods must be pleased with my icons to bestow such good tidings.



eye in hand




I’ve just finished a silly little painting and from the looks of it I have been listening to Kurt Weill to often.

I started this painting several years ago, then I  moved, it was stashed  away unfinished only to be rediscovered a few weeks ago. I decided to give it a second chance. Initially I was inspired to dash off a quick painting to depict the frank annoyance I had felt at an opening I had attended. If there  ever  was an Emperor-hasn’t- any-clothes moment , that opening was it. Sycophants galore gushing over ridiculousness- a  filthy mattress suspended from the ceiling strewn with red lights. Subtle as a train wreck but not as engaging. This painting was my response to such nincompoopery and as nincompoopery is alive and well still fun to paint .




oil on canvas board 20 by 24 inches



Life, Death and if not Resurrection, Redemption.

In my work I turn repeatedly to issues of mortality, sacrifice, redemption and self knowledge (gnosis). 

It probably isn’t much of a surprise that Good Friday is my favorite day of the Church calendar ; I have strayed (or She has) from the traditions of my youth, but the Passion reading never fails to  move me deeply. My belief in a god, or not, is wavering but the narrative of this day, of this man during his final hours has influenced my work profoundly. Whether he was divine or not, an issue that caused great discord between the Church Fathers and the “heretical ” gnostics is of little concern to me. In fact, appealing to my humanist inclinations, it is the mortal man, willingly offering up such a terrible gift that astounds me. I have countless images of the Ecce Homo, the Crucifixion, the Deposition,  religious postcards, 19th c. chromolithographs, icons, statuary, every museum visit I head straight to the medieval wing, I never tire of the depictions of this suffering wretch. My heart bleeds for him each time ,the pathos so intense. His mother, she too breaks my heart, to have such a selfless ally is incomprehensible . These archetypes will continue to fuel my work, as they are now befriended by their “pagan” siblings, the Maize God most notably.

The following is just a sampling of my online “scrapbook” devoted to Christ and the BVM.

botticelli:cristo risorto:1480:detroit copy

tumblr_n3ov9bu8bi1s0jb2mo1_1280 copy

black christ:met cath:mc

the Black Christ above is from our trip to Mexico City @ the Cathedral

master of flemalle:crucified thief:1410:frankfurt

cristo alla colonna:1680:filippo parodi


hot pieta

Apparently I am not the only on to see the eroticism in the crucifixion; sadly I do not know whose work this is. I stumbled upon it unidentified-any info very welcome.

mary crying6 copy

mary crying8 copy

mary with veil



Every day is Good Friday in my studio, aside from the numerous depictions mentioned above, my studio is dominated by a large oil on tin painting depicting Christ accepting the Cross (one of the stations,  I cannot remember which one). I purchased this back east, in snooty and very protestant Bucks County. When I spotted it in a dusty barn owned by a particularly arrogant designer/antiques peddler I asked after it. He laughed in my face, such an absurd request , who would want such a monstrosity. With withering condescension  he offered it to me  for five bucks. My heart was racing with joy-to hell with his arrogance, this was a treasure!

 It has been with me for over 25 years , I love it more every day. I rely upon it for facial expressions, painting technique, coloring, companionship during adversity, it has in so many ways  been a mentor. 

IMG_4830Be well.