Paradise Completed

When I last posted on this painting, link HERE I received many warm responses for which I am grateful. Last evening I finished the painting and I can  now, at last look at it clearly.

GRECO_GNOSIS_AND_OLD_GODS_PLEASEDGnosis…and the Old Gods Were Pleased

2014

oil on canvas

48 by 24 inches

When I last posted my progress the painting was about 70 percent complete, I’ve since made a few changes.

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Most of the changes have been made to the female character, who is not Eve ; she is in fact Zoe, daughter of Sophia, bearer of  light and wisdom (Gnosis), as Adam lacked the spiritual spark (the source of information  and inspiration for this painting was a BBC podcast  In Our Time, the topic of discussion being  the Gnostics , link HERE ).

I’m happy were her now, my inspiration was in many respects the Grey Eyed Athena and I captured what I wanted…pretty much.

Another, initial inspiration was the sculpture of “Eve in Temptation” by my favorite Giselbertus (1150); I strayed a bit but I know the spark.

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My impetus to finish this painting was entry in a juried show at a local museum-an artist alliance exhibition. The following paintings have also been entered:

GRECO_RESURRECTION_OF_THE_FATHER

Resurrection of the Father

2013

oil on canvas

50 by 40 inches

GRECO_TEMPTATION_OF_ST_ANTHONY_OF_DESERT

Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert

2013

oil on canvas

48 by 36 inches.

Wish me luck! I will post the results, good or bad news,

until that time,

be well, Lg

Tzimmes and the Maize God

Chanukah begins this evening and tomorrow is Thanksgiving .

As I prepare for tomorrow’s feast, our  first “official” dinner party since  moving back to LA I am feeling particularly grateful for the diverse influences that have shaped the person I am today. My first partner Douglas and his lovely family were German Jews, from them I was exposed to the joys of Jewish culture , including Chanukah.  Tzimmes ( a tasty treat loosely translated from the Yiddish  as a “big mess/deal/fuss”of stewed sweet potatoes, carrots and prunes) was always on the  Chanukah table this time of year and my own pot of  this aromatic stew bubbles away.

I am also  in the thick of preparing the centerpiece. Given that it is Thanksgiving , I am honoring our indigenous ancestors with prayer candles to the Maize God, Hun Hunuhpu. Thus far 10, and counting…

Without my relatively recent exposure to this rich culture through a marvelous professor ( who I now consider a friend), my infatuation with all things Meso may never have been. For that I am also grateful.

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Like little soldiers, my Maize God prayer candles stand at attention waiting for their place on tomorrow’s banquet table. St Stephen, first Christian martyr leads the troops.

The diablo  vase was from a ceramic class I had taken a few semester’s back. I may very well be the WORST ceramicist ever, but surprise, surprise, I like decorating vessels.  This, I decorated post firing with oil colors, won’t last forever, but at least until I croak!

IMG_3889I’m thinking of marketing these candles, not just Maize God but a variety of Meso deities , plus other saints, Christian and otherwise, sacred and secular. What seems a fair price? Not looking for extravagant profit but  a reasonable price-thus far the candles themselves are a little under two bucks. Feedback very  welcome.

Well happy Chanukah, happy Thanksgiving,

be well, be safe,

until next time,

Lg

Bringing Randy Blue Fauns to Class

I’m taking an introduction to digital photography class and frankly I hate it.

Although it is an intro class, a working knowledge of Photoshop is in order (something I was unaware of).  I might very well be the only person in class who has never worked with the program; my fellow students zip from one application to another.  I feel like a dinosaur.

Our first two assignments have thankfully been hands on, and I have done  relatively well. It is not without a bit of smugness that I  have observed my fellow students’ inability to render.

The following is a silly exercise in which three pared down elements must be synthesized into a narrative. In spite of hating the class, the assignment was fun; I might do another version.

This effort was inspired by Sartre’s No Exit. 

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visual exercise II

The following is the assignment sheet:

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My printmaking class is going very well, this is my third semester and although I have produced only a few prints I can claim  to like,  I am learning a lot. Thankfully my anxiety that my professor did not like me or my work has proven to be  due to ridiculous insecurity. He has proven to be very helpful and supportive of my work in spite of our aesthetic differences. I look forward to afternoons spent at the press in spite of the oppressive California heat- apparently printmaking studios do not warrant air conditioning.

The following image  is the final version of my first dry point exercise . Again, I see flaws but I now know how to better handle the technique , next I plan to combine drypoint with aquatint. 

IMG_4118Temptation of St Anthony

drypoint intaglio print

Well that is it for this evening , have a lovely weekend and to my fellow Landsmen, L’Shana Tovah!

Take care,

Lg

El Demonio Azul y el Toro

Just finished a new painting and I had the audacity to give it  a name in Spanish; if I screwed up blame it on Rosetta Stone.

So here it is : The Blue Devil and the Bull.

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El Demonio Azul y el Toro

oil on canvas

16 by 20 inches

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detail of blue devil

This is a small painting, I was  playing about with visual language, notably how to treat a body of water. Still playing with barren environments and themes of loneliness and isolation. Living in the desert is a rich resource for that sort of mood. I have a few more small paintings nearing completion which I hope to post shortly. Also noodling within my head  with what may be another very large painting. Perhaps one more large canvas before I leave this desert for good…

Have a happy Labor Day,

take care, namaste,

Lg

This just popped up on my Facebook feed, couldn’t help but to post it; yet another subliminal influence.

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Ariadne’s Thread

The latest in my ongoing fascination with the Minotaur/Theseus theme…

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Ariadne’s Thread

watercolor on paper

11 by 18 inches

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detail of yet another randy blue demon, the Minotaur

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detail of Theseus

that’s it for now, heading back to oils for the remainder of the week and on Tuesday back to printmaking, the semester begins!

Until next time, take care,

LG

Out of the Hermitage :the completion of the Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert

At long last I have finished my painting of The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert. I have some shading to tend to, a few details that need enhancing, but for now, I’m out of the Hermitage.

2The Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert

oil on canvas

36 by 52 inches

2013

It is satisfying to have chronicled the painting from the first roughing out until completion. I haven’t posted play-by-play images, as that would be dull as dishwater given the progress I made, but I have stashed them in my library.

3scrubbling in, first day

Given that I may very well be the worst photographer ever, I am going to post individual images of details.

4Randy Blue Fauns

1

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Fury/Siren

6

Bearded Siren

4

Albino Boy

7

The abbot, an attempt at self portraiture, not sure if it is successful or not.

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A detail of my trusted mechanical pencil; the bane of every art instructor I have had. There is a serious resistance to mechanical pencils amongst the art establishment. I developed a fondness for precision instruments when  I worked in interior design. Habits fall off slowly.

The “L” is not a signature but a reference to 50, my age right now.  A memento mori.

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Bearded Prickly Man

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Iguana Boy

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A wee little red devil who unfortunately doesn’t photograph well.

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source

In finishing this painting there is a personal symbolic value, I think i’m ready to start venturing out of my own hermitage. I have for the last year been squirreled up with my dogs, my paint, and my thoughts. Essentially a recluse. As I gear up towards moving to a vital city, attending a school that is both exciting and intimidating , I’m finding myself more and more venturing forth. A small step in tackling my anxieties is taking a yoga class with my sister-in-law this afternoon; silly how intimidating that feels, but I’m going forward. Wish me luck.

Until next time,

take care, be well,

LG

Post Script: On the themes of hermits,  the hermitage, and creation of art and one’s self ; this morning’s New York Times ran a piece about a Brooklyn artist having had spent his life practicing his craft in isolation was “discovered” at 64 by a major gallery, the show a whopping success.  A fairytale story of course, but heartening.  His work is rich and he has clearly dedicated his life to Breton’s ideals.  The paper quotes the artist, Rafeal Leonardo Black as saying “Everybody writes poems at 15 ; real poets write them at 50.”

Encouraging words.

iggy

Evolution of an Eruption (& two randy blue fauns)

IMG_3873 Eruption

2013

relief print on paper with pochoir color addition

One of my goals in printmaking has been to create companions to my paintings, I have tried this before and it was an unfortunate failure. My brushwork didn’t seem to translate to relief prints; intaglio might be a better technique for this purpose.

But this semester I am focusing upon relief printing.  A current obsession happens to be  two fauns from a nearly completed painting The Temptation of St. Anthony in the Desert. The fauns play a supporting role but they charm me for personal reasons, I can certainly relate to the older faun, confused but still obviously vital, he just needs a bit of guidance.

I was determined to translate these two fauns into a relief print, but the process has been complicated. I first tried conventional black ink, handsome enough but did not capture the tension I was after.

IMG_3869 Eruption

 artist’s proof, relief print

My instructor suggested what he calls a rainbow roll- a two/three color roll of ink. I was not at all happy with this, might very well have to do with my aversion of rainbow rolls in general.  Too Haight Ashbury in my snotty opinion.

IMG_3852 Eruption

artist’s proof, “rainbow roll” relief print

I was after spots of color, that attracted the eye to the characters and to the situation. I did not want a hand colored, water color feeling; I wanted opaque blocks of color.  Clive Hicks-Jenkins suggested the stenciling method pochoir.  Initially I hesitated, I explained to Clive how orthodox my instructor can be, stenciling would not suffice.

Clive assured me that pochoir was an established and well respected practice some of the  most revered artist have used the technique to great effect.  Risking my instructors disapproval I gave it a shot.

I am very happy I did, thank you Clive!

As I was working with two colors, I made two stencils, first orangish-yellow, applying opaque acrylic paint rather lavishly. I  like how I was able to manipulate the colors, something that isn’t very easy to do with a roller.  Not a “pure’ printmaking technique, but ultimately visually satisfying.

IMG_3870I tackled the second color with a second stencil cut from conventional stencil paper. I t handles so nicely and reminded me of my decorative painting days.  One never knows how old tricks can be applied in a new fashion.

IMG_3872The final step was to apply a black print over the treated paper; using a carefully aligned template made the process a breeze.

I am happy to say my instructor was delighted, he noted registration  had gone awry- something I sincerely enjoy in this print- but otherwise he was quite pleased. He can take comfort in the fact that our  class “Bible”, Fritz Eichenberg’s monumental The Art of the Print, Masterpieces, History, Techniques (Abrams), seems to fully embrace the technique, echoing Clive’s endorsement. So I now have another technique  quasi mastered, aside from multiple color blocks ( and the odious technique of reduction relief).

Happy Clive spoke up. The final print though visibly its own statement is indeed in dialogue with its source, the randy little blue fauns from my St. Anthony.

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 detail of blue fauns, The Temptation of St.Anthony in the Desert,unfinished

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Semester ends soon and I will at last be able to return to painting. but for now I have several unfinished printing projects which seem promising.  I will post my progress in class as I finish up the projects.

Until that time, take care and much gratitude to Clive, our modern master,

LG