St. Kevin & the Blackbird

 

Nearly two years (January 24th specifically ) I started this small panel painting. Having been introduced to the saint through the Welsh artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ depictions of the holy man, I was then inspired by the late Seamus Heaney’s incredible poem of the saint and his feathered visitor ( Link : http://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/st-kevin-and-blackbird). But for some reason the inspiration waned and I stashed this little panel away until only recently, picking it up again last December. I believe he is now complete.

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St. Kevin and the Blackbird

 2016

oil on panel

12 by 12″

When I started this painting a few years back I also carved a plate of the saint from which this painting is inspired. I believe it is the first of what is now becoming a dual practice, making a painting then a print (or  the reverse).

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I will now get back to a few other unfinished paintings; I always have far too many unfinished works, doodles and sketches of paintings I would like to make. Daunting at times. I am now enrolled in a life drawing class with the painter Jim Morphesis an artist I admire very much. Jim had awarded me a prize last summer for my painting Genesis and I was eager to thank him AND crash his course. Happy to say I have been added. So I am looking forward to that experience, a model at every class , always a luxury. Until next time, be well.

Validation

After a dreary period of seemingly endless rejection letters from galleries and exhibitors, it is validating to have had the last few submissions accepted. Yesterday I received word that the Brand Library , for their annual Works on Paper exhibition (this is their 43rd year ) had accepted my Temptation of Saint Anthony in the Desert. It was particularly thrilling to read:

“Juror Kent Twitchell reviewed 890 submitted works, of which 70 were selected for the exhibition”.

Kent Twitchell is an icon here (and elsewhere)  known for his  photo-realistic monumental murals; I admire him a great deal, hence the validation. Funny things is he paints such spectacularly colossal, hyper realistic works and chose my teeny bit of fantasy. Catholic tastes I guess .

Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert, 2015, acrylic on Yupo paper, 11 by 14"
Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert, 2015, acrylic on Yupo paper, 11 by 14″

I have the happy task of framing this little painting, a pleasant break from the mad dash of setting up a new home, packing up an old, securing a new studio (about to sign the lease), and perhaps buying a car(YIKES), THEN fly out to Philadelphia for the six week critique course. I’m spinning about in space.

I think for the program at PAFA I am going to translate this drawing The Goblin Market into a much larger painting, size to be determined- essentially as big as I can ship back.

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The Goblin Market

When I arrive in Philadelphia, after a red eye flight, I am pretty much just jumping the deep end at PAFA  on Monday the 6th. I will post regularly from my phone.

To be continued…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

Labor’s Reward

I recently finished a decorative project for a certain blond mega pop star who everyone pretty much knows; as glamorous as all that may be, I really did not want the project. I do however hold her designer in high esteem and count him a a friend ; PLUS money is nice.  Money is really nice for buying oneself gifts. I have been itching for a press and I now have one.

Some fellows, when they have a mid life crisis buy a flashy car ; I buy a printing press, but is absolutely testosterone driven.

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 Press source

The work station is pretty fantastic gift as well, a birthday gift from the spouse man, welded steel, capable of supporting 3000 lbs, overkill, as the press is under 200 pounds, but again, testosterone driven on very  impressive wheels.

Source Uline : source

This press actually intimidated me a bit, and my chum the talented artist Deborah Lambert graciously walked me through the process; incredibly simple and it works like a dream, the following is an afternoon’s leisurely output.

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The relief print I worked on this afternoon was inspired by Flaubert’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, in one scene the poor beleaguered anchorite is tormented by Lust and Death,  representing the eternal circle of life.

I really love that idea, without Lust , Death cannot be fed, they need one another.

So hence , Lust und Tod.

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 Lust und Tod

2014

relief print on mulberry paper

9 by 12 inches

I have not been posting because I have been working on a large painting, once again dealing with life, death and salvation, apparently I never tire of the theme. As much as I love printmaking, painting gives me the greatest joy. I have existential angst at times as my prints are well received and my paintings, well, not so much. I may in fact not be terribly good, my landlady told me frankly I shouldn’t bother with paintings, focus on printmaking. I know she means well, though it did indeed sting; but the fact is I love painting. So good or bad, well received or not, I continue my practice. the following is a detail.

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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 

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:

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Resurrection of the Father

2013

oil on canvas

50 by 40 inches

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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