The Ghost of Versailles

 Lately I have been working rather diligently on experiencing lucid dreams; doing this so that I may better  discern my unconscious mind. An although my dreams have been extravagant , I have as of yet, had only two lucid dreams. Last evening being the second.

It seemed a short dream , which was a pity as it was set in the Palace of Versailles (a place I have not had the chance to visit and which I fear I may never actually visit). In this dream I have the ghost of Louis XVI on my back and he is directing me from his suite to the ground floor. He is doing so through some sort of night goggles, the images are sepia toned, and I soon realize I am having a lucid dream . From my knowledge of the palace, I begin to direct myself downward, it is dawn, barely lit and we are all alone. But as we descend to what I know will be the grand staircase it all evaporates as thoroughly as the Ancien Regime itself.

 This charcoal sketch is my accounting of the dream and aside from my commedia dell’ arte costume which is how I  often designate myself in drawings, it pretty accurately captures the mood of the dream.




charcoal, pastel and a bit of collage on charcoal paper

12 by 18″

As I mentioned, I have been having many other vivid dreams as well, and this image Out on a Limb was inspired by two recurring dreams, none of which were lucid, but which still moved me deeply. In one series of dreams I am consistently losing my right hand ( my working hand) which of course is quite disturbing . In another I am in a snowy metropolitan area, high above mankind, as I looked down I see the most pitiful bat-bird like creatures slowly freezing to death. No matter how much I alert others to their plight and no matter how I try to disentangle them from the ice, I cannot save them. The dream left me breathless and despondent. I tried to capture that sense in this graphite drawing.


Out on a Limb


graphite and colored pencil on charcoal paper

19 by 25″

That said, I will close with the good old boy himself, have a great week.




The Great Feathered Serpent (and petty concerns)

Much of my day yesterday was spent in my life drawing class and frankly I should have just  stayed put in my studio . The model was extraordinary,  a beautiful and graceful woman who knew how to strike a pose ( and sustain it ). And the drawings really weren’t that bad but my choice of medium (Sanguine and graphite ) made for unhappy results, muddy ugly affairs. The truth is I have difficulty producing ” finished drawings”, ones that stand on their own. For I have spent my life viewing my daily drawing practice as a sevice to my painting practice . I left the class feeling I had squandered the elegance of the model and having wasted many hours. 

Happily my studio time  that evening was more productive , familiar medium , my music ( not EDM!) and the beasties . I finished up yet another figure in a complex painting , nearing closer to the finish line.

And now , another day. 

Today’s Progress: The Great Earth Goddess and Her Bastard Son


This is a detail of a larger composition (a painting that may very well kill me), this detail is of the great and bountiful Aztec earth goddess Coatlicue (She of the Serpent Skirt,see her official portrait below, taken at the Anthropology Museum of Mexico City, where she resides in terrifying splendor) and her troublesome bastard son, the  bloodthirsty, ever demanding war god Huitzilopochtli tugging at her serpentine skirt.


Now off to make dinner for the husband , be well.


My Insignificance is Magnificent

It has been a  rough week for my ego, starting on Monday with the withering appraisal of some gym bunnies . I was washing up after my work out and I could just feel their chilly disdain for this goofy, ill-dressed, scrawny, not very fit fellow. I felt ridiculously ashamed and wanted to rush out; but instead , this phrase popped into my head, “my insignificance is magnificent”. So I went back to my dainty, silly bicep curls, finished my work out and then proceeded to the studio to work on this little painting. In between  painting, school and life, I felt buffeted by life’s indifference: I received  several rejections for juried entries that I had hoped to be included in, frankly a   benign snarky comment at school that stung nonetheless and the usual  brutal election year antagonism on FB …that and just recognizing my own limitations artistically which is humbling.  But instead of sinking into my usual depressive funk I instead went to work on this painting. Perhaps it isn’t particularly good  but the mantra “my insignificance is magnificent ” was helpful. 

And that matters.

greco my insignificance is magnificent 20216

My Insignificance is Magnificent


gouache on paper

22 by 15″

Ashes and Soot

  Given it is the Lenten season it might be appropriate that there is sooty charcoal all over my face and hands . But not so much a result of extreme penitence but instead a day of working with charcoal and graphite . This post is a sampling of today’s progress.

 I am taking a life drawing course with the excellent artist Jim Morphesis and in just a few weeks my drawings have become more confident . Plus I’m just relishing drawing and my productivity is up.

 So thanks Jim!