I’ve been challenging myself with a commitment to my sketchbook, random images, most from source material that has delighted me. In no particular order, a few follow…
a silly musing, I think this is what I do best, in the natural sense
Given tomorrow is St.Patrick’s Day and that its celebration is a well loved childhood memory (my mother’s surname being Murphy after all) I wanted to post something to honor the saint who drove the serpents out of Ireland. I found glancing through past work , that although I am very fond of the saint, I’ve never drawn him before. I decided to remedy that error and set about putting together this rendering .
I hope he would be pleased.
Blessed Saint Patrick
graphite, colored pencil, pastel and mixed media on paper
18 by 24″
Last minute I snipped away one of my relief prints and added the harpy to the composition ; I’m pleased with the result.
I must have sensed on some level that the holiday was approaching as I have been listening to quite a bit of Irish folk music. A favorite is The Raggle Taggle Gypsy O , particularly as interpreted by the great countertenor Andreas Scholl. I thought I would include it into this post. Link below.
The following painting is an experiment on several levels. I’m experimenting with a new paper from Arches called Huile oil paper which is designed specifically for oil painting. Anyone who paints in oil knows that working on paper is frowned upon as it is not archival. Secondly I am experimenting with the Surrealist technique of automatic drawing and painting. The following painting is the result.
oil on Arches Huile paper
15 by 22 inches
It is an absurd image composed of seemingly random characters, but there is a free- associative logic to it all…at least from my perspective. Lavinia (from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus) in a dream state, wanders into the court of the Aztec goddess Coatlique, She of the Skirt of Serpents … and a pretty fantastic necklace composed of skulls, hearts and most importantly, hands! A bit of gallows humor perhaps, but I didn’t think it out too much. I allowed unconscious instinct to direct the composition. The following is Coatlique taken from our trip to Mexico City.
One of the things I really enjoy about taking classes outside of the discipline of art is the opportunity to free my mind and doodle with abandon. My judgmental brain is turned off and my hand flows across the page. They are not great drawings by any means, often ridiculous; but I find in them a nonsensical spontaneity that I value and want to integrate into my work more often.
The following are samples taken from an English Composition C course that I recently finished.
This might be my last post for awhile until I leave for my Philadelphia critique course at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. I have obligations I need to tend to before I leave on Independence Day. I’m nervous and excited, I’ve never been away from David (or my dear dogs)for such a long stretch; but to have time just for my work is an amazing opportunity.
Until next time, be well, LG
I have been reading the plays of Shakespeare, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, now Richard III, but it is Titus Andronicus that has stuck with me, most particularly the tragic Lavinia. It is such a terrible and bloody tale that I would rather not revisit it yet I feel compelled to somehow honor Lavinia. To capture the brutal chaos that was her life. The following, a spontaneously dashed off acrylic painting on canvas is one attempt.
acrylic on canvas
16 by 20 inches
I wanted to avoid the obvious ( and seductive) bloody approach; instead I focused on her claustrophobic impotence, the pawn of so many men. And although there is tenderness shown towards Lavinia and empathy for her plight, as when her uncle,Marcus Andronicus, after her terrible rape and mutilation attempts to soothe her with:
“Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee:
O,could our mourning ease thy misery!”
Act II 4, 56-57
There is this tenderness, this paternal, fraternal love yet she has no say-literally. And in the end, well the end , how does one deal with it all?
She haunts me, this sketch I made just last night before I went to bed.
I’m toying with the idea of making a hand puppet , perhaps. I also wouldn’t mind not thinking about it.
Last evening I attended a New Moon celebration(see previous post), great fun, but during the day I was at hard at work on a new painting. I made good progress, perhaps Artemis was on my side.
I had posted on the painting ( as of yet untitled) previously HERE, but it has languished in the studio gathering cobwebs. I have since dusted it off.
The following images, mostly preparatory renderings are the fruits of my labor.
Blocking in the painting, oil on canvas, 40 by 56″
The painting is complex, an array of Old Gods toppling a sanctimonious New God. The following are character studies, graphite on paper.
The Magdalene and her Scapegoat
a New Moon God
a Sun God, helmet now omitted
a host of Mesoamerican Old Gods
So that is it, busy at the task at hand. I have a few smaller paintings in various stages of completion, but this painting should take me through the summer when I begin the summer critique program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art- I cannot wait, just check out the cast room, the largest collection of first casts outside of Europe.
ONE wing of the cast collection at PAFA
So a new day, a new moon, a new painting, wish me luck.
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.
the following two were from dreams the evening prior:
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,