Given that it is Holy Week and Good Friday is fast approaching, I have been at work on a Deposition of Christ. My friend and fellow LA artist J have been in a bit of a duel, each tackling this well known subject. I’m eager to see what he comes up with, this is my offering, a watercolor on paper,clicking upon the image enlarges it for detailed viewing.
Descent from the Cross, I
watercolor on paper
11 by 14 “
My intention was to capture the unimaginable grief of those who had born witness. J and I had stumbled upon an early Renaissance gold-ground image in which the attending angels were painted black. That really stuck with me, how unimaginable the loss, that even angels who have seen it all could not control their grief.
I started another Descent yesterday morning, this is the scribbling in…
I am back in class ( English Comp 1-c) and as usual overwhelmed, hence my cobwebbed studio.
If I do not post before, Happy Passover and/or Joyous Easter!
A filmmaker friend has expressed interest in filming my marionettes , the making of them , performing with them, our exploring the Popol vuh narrative, etc. This all sounds like great fun. So in my naive enthusiasm I decide I’m going to explore stop-action filmmaking. After all I have a bunch of articulated maquettes to play with. How hard can it be?
Tedious , certainly, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
Well it ain’t easy.
I purchased an app for stop-action, that has helped certainly, but so much more to figure out. The following clip is one of my first experiments: Mictlantecutli, the Not-so -great Hunter.
Inept, but at least very short…this is even shorter .
The First Kiss
This will obviously NOT be a career change anytime soon. But it is fun. I want that sense of play in my life in general, which often in my devoted studio practice can seem elusive. Particularly once I have committed to a large canvas. Such is the case at the moment, I’m working on a large oil, that I enjoy painting ; but it is daunting, a commitment of time and energy. Dabbling with stop-action is a welcome distraction. I will in time master editing, lighting, buy better tools (a tripod perhaps)…but for now, I’m playing.
Given that Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and that I happen to be in the throes of attempting to read as many translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as I can, this still-wet painting/drawing seemed fit to post.
The Green Knight
graphite and watercolor on paper
11 by 11″
As I mentioned I am on a Romantic frenzy with an emphasis on Gawain and the Green Knight. So far the Simon Armitage translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight seems the most expressive and easily holds one’s attention, it is a real page turner. Thankful to Clive Hicks-Jenkins for introducing me to it.
What I love most is Armitage’s almost erotic description of the beastly yet seductive Green Knight. He is clearly a monstrous sight, green of flesh, massive and brutish; yet beautiful, well built and splendidly attired. A radiant greenish-golden yellow glow,save for the flaming red of his eyes, permeates his being. I was seduced immediately. Hence the image.
In my readings I have come upon numerous interpretations of who or what the Green Knight is. Some have understood his unholy skin color to represent death; some believe he is the devil, yet others believe he is a Greenman or the Greenman’s cousin the wodewose. I want to believe he is not anything particularly malevolent but instead an old god, full of contradictions, light and dark, “good” and “evil”. The complicated duality that the chivalric court of Arthur found so difficult to comprehend with its rigid codes of behavior.
I have attempted to fit all of Gawains future into the blanket of the Green Knight’s equally green horse. There is the unholy beheading challenge, the castle/sanctuary of Sir Bertilak ( the Green Knight’s alter ego), the seductive Queen with her charming bosom, and finally the Green Chapel. The Green Knight and his horse are a writing pulsating tangle of vegetation.
Right now I am reading the latest Penguin translation and next I plan to see what Tolkien thought of this grand tale. The following image, which thankfully I did not see until just a moment ago for fear of undue influence, is from an original manuscript-it’s pretty splendid.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Part of my studio practice lately has been to work with acrylic on the weekend, putting to canvas images as spontaneously as possible. This practice benefits from my readings which often serve as an inspiration. Having just finished Richard III, the following is a result of this new and at times challenging experiment .
On Bosworth Field
acrylic on canvas
16 by 20″
Richard III offers many scenes of pathos, violence and questionable morality, often with great wit, Richard is a very funny fellow. But only one scene inspired me to put it to paint ,Act V, scene 3. Set on Bosworth Field, on the eve of battle, Richard is in his tent; his enemy (and future king Henry VII) Richmond is in his. Richard when he needs to be as steely and as brave as he ever has been ,is set upon by the ghosts of all those he has slain: Prince Edward, Henry VI, Clarence, Rivers, Grey, Vaughan, the young princes, Hastings, Lady Anne and Buckingham. Quite an assembly and each rattles his slumber with the curse “Despair and die”. With that joyful tiding they depart, leaving Richard rattled and in despair;they then head to Richmond’s tent offering him the blessing of “Live and flourish! “. One can guess the outcome.
So this is that pivotal moment, and the one I chose to depict- with many liberties taken, the young princes are far from boyhood.
I’m not sure what I think of this painting and it has taken a certain degree of will and courage even to just post it. But my discipline with this studio journal is to post work even when I am unsure about it. I may go back to this painting, soften it, creating a more subtle surface with oil . I’m not sure, I might very well just shove it in the closet with the other forlorn paintings and drawings I have made. There is enough within the painting to justify not just chucking it, which is my usual inclination. It might inspire something in the future as this following sketch did for this very painting. I made the sketch after having read the remains of Richard III had been authenticated a few years back. I based the drawing upon the skeleton as it had been found. At the time the crooked skeleton seemed to validate the hunchbacked myth but that seems to have been disproven.
If I am unsure of the painting I am sure of Richard III, its an incredible play.
Now onto Othello.