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.

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2016

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.

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Out on a Limb

2016

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.

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Descent : fragment of a dream

I know it is boorish to go on about one’s dreamworld to anyone but your analyst, but sometimes a dream is so spectacular, it finds its way into my work. Such is the case with Descent.  In this recent dream I found myself descending from Heaven, and although I squirm with self consciousness in admitting this , I had seen God  (and Jesus) and love was the message from both.

So I am descending into the Night, not with regret in leaving Heaven, I’m too awestruck by the wonders below. I am with a silent companion who will remain with me until I land. Below, is a gorgeous city , clouded by fog , a rich ornate city chock-a-block with 18th and 19th century buildings.  

 I will not bore you with more details, I will leave them for my analyst ( my silent companion?).

But this is the painting.

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Descent

2014

watercolor, gouache and graphite on paper

12 by 23 inches

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I haven’t  a great fascination in depicting architecture but I do have a great fascination in how architecture is depicted by the German Expressionist filmmakers , particularly F.W. Murnau. I had recently seen his Faust and David and I were both blown away by the opening scene.

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With that in mind, I rendered my dream city. In the process paying homage to my friend and inspiration Clive Hicks-Jenkins , who shares my love of Murnau and has developed his own  wonderful technique in depicting architecture.

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The dream was cinematic, long and exhausting, but inspirational.

Be well, Lg

Back to the Hermitage

Having first finished Flaubert’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony and then  having gone to the Getty Centre to see the spectacular Ensor exhibition ( twice, and not at all too many visits )  where I encountered Ensor’s interpretation of the poor anchorite bedeviled by worldliness, I was inspired to paint yet another Temptation.  

Flaubert’s work influenced Ensor and that is apparent, from the writhing Byzantine whirl of Temptations to the floating, glowing head of the Savior (Freud was also heavily influenced by this amazing and odd little book). If you are inclined towards visual excess as I am, Flaubert’s text offers endless inspiration. One of the many temptations that poor Anthony encounters is the personifications of Lust and Death, in Flaubert’s description they are an inseparable duo, one cannot be without the other.

I found this magnificent and horrifying, his description of the two is chilling:

Lust: “My rage equals thine. I also yell ; I bite. I too, have sweats of agony, and aspects cadaverous.”

Death: ” It is I that make thee awful! Let us intertwine!”

I love that, it is so terrible, so damned, and yet Anthony resists them and they flee.

This painting unlike the last Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert ( link: HERE) is a small little oil painting, only 16 by 20 inches. I painted smaller frankly because I am running out of studio space and I have two other large canvases that I am working on occupying two easels . 

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 The Temptation of Saint Anthony

2014

oil on canvas

16 by 20 inches

I wanted to commit to grissaile which at times has been a challenge; my love of color so great. Given the theme I resisted the siren’s call.

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detail of Lust and Death

I explored Lust and Death previously with my relief print Lust und Tod.

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The idea of Anthony carrying the mask came from a dream, which given Freud’s love of Flaubert’s Anthony, I thought too important to omit.

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I will close with this image, the handsome hermit tempting Temptation.

Be well, Lg

The Anointing

I had been going through a bit of an arid period in dreamworld lately; and then suddenly an avalanche of evocative images. The following was inspired by one of them.

As Sunday was the 18th anniversary of my first date with David, the painting seems appropriate.

I’ve called it The Anointing.

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The Anointing

2014

acrylic on paper

22 by 28 inches

A Case for Doodling

I have consistently high blood pressure which is maddening, I’m fit, I’m vegan, I exercise daily, I practice yoga and yet the numbers soar. My doctor advised I buy a home monitor (if you want to feel decrepit, buy a home monitor) and now I have the added delight of watching the numbers rise on a daily basis.

This morning I decided to experiment, ordinarily I fuss trying to stay still as possible when using the device. I naturally run high on nervous energy,even sitting perfectly still causes me anxiety, a creepy Catch-22. My experiment was to draw during the monitoring. I was happily but not really surprised to see my numbers close to the desired range(125/83 whereas target blood pressure is 120/80).

I was delighted, it has been years since the numbers have been this low. I have known that when I draw my breathing becomes less frantic and I can experience a bit of calm. But perversely I always feel as if on some level drawing isn’t “real” work; I do not  regularly show my sketchbooks to others. And yet I doodle and draw all day, often with a weird sense of guilt. But this morning’s numbers have liberated me a bit from that ridiculous thinking, I’m not wasting time or procrastinating-this is therapeutic !

The following are a few pages from my sketchbook from the last few days. To a new and reasonable acceptance of doodling.

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the following two were from dreams the evening prior:

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Well that is it for now, off to yoga, then doodling perhaps. This evening one of my prints is in an exhibition, tonight is the opening. I’m so lame, I should go, but I would rather paint , will see what happens.

Until then, be well,

Lg

The Old Gods

In between other paintings and relief prints (once again  I am trying my hand at that elusive medium), in between such endeavors, I’m working out a large painting.

I’ve posted on this painting before at this link, but I am now at the stage of fussing with details and working out negative shapes and placement. Funny how I rely upon the skills I honed as a decorative mural painting. What seemed so perfect on a scaled drawing is just a wee bit off when faced with the actual , rather large canvas-56 by 40 inches.

Briefly the painting deals with the old gods reclaiming their positions, toppling the false envious demiurge Yaldabaoth (Yahwah). I’ve been working out the details of each and it has been a great deal of fun.

As posted previously:

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Preparatory  sketch of Tlaloc, She of the Serpent Skirt and  the Feathered Serpent

Placement is critical and I have been poring over Poussin’s excellent examples for inspiration but in the end heeding my own intuition.

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further drawings follow:

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The Maize God

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The Hero Twins-one version

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another version for another project-I really like these fellows

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My sanctimonious Abrahamic god  the embodiment of the apostolic church, soon to be toppled ; do I have  just a wee bit of vitriol for the god of Leviticus or what?

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for no apparent reason, a Meso-Herakles.

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Placement so far, I have a few more figures to add so placement is a crucial, I feel a bit like Cecil B.DeMille.

But onward.

Until next time, be well,

Lg

Blocking in Devils and Saints

The day was spent blocking in two small panels-I’ve discovered the joys of panels and feel it best suits my process. I have a large canvas in the wings, prepped and ready but for today devils and saints.

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blocking in St.Kevin & the Blackbird

oil on panel

This is a small panel, only 12 by 12 inches, it is to be of St.Kevin and his blackboard. I’m basing it upon a relief print that I made last year . I’m enjoying my ability to stretch my wings so to speak with color; a sharp contrast to the print.

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My second panel, also small, only 18 by 24 inches is inspired by my ongoing fascination with gnostic thought. I haven’t named the painting yet but it will  be something to do with the apotheosis of Sophia or gnosis. As usual I’m enjoying playing with little devil fellows.

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The symbolism for this painting is based very loosely on an 18th cent print, I’m guessing Masonic in nature. It was wonderfully creepy in that way allegory often is. I need to locate a copy of it, but it entailed a nude women wearing a crenelated crown and holding chains that supported the  sun and the moon  all while standing upon a skull. I’ve made a few alterations stylistically but I’m happy with her. The snakes further symbols of wisdom. I dreamt of making this painting the other evening and my dream guide was insistent that she stand upon a black cloud. So black it will be.

Well  I must run and tend to other aspects of my life ( namely marketing, ugh) but until next time , be well,

Lg