Ray Harryhausen, an undeniable influence

This morning I was sadly made aware of Ray Harryhausen’s death by Clive Hicks-Jenkin’s marvelous tribute to the great artist. Later over breakfast I read the details in this morning’s New York Times. A great man has died but his work will continue to inspire.

hary hausen and medusa:clash of the titans copyRay Harryhausen

b. June 29th 1920

d. May 7th 2013

Requiescat in Pace

It is blatantly obvious that Harryhausen has been a tremendous  personal influence ; a boyhood crush on his Jason and the Argonauts (1963) introduced me to a world previously unexplored.  Edith Hamilton with all of her literary skill was unable to tickle this little boy with sheer visual delight the way Harryhausen did. I was a snotty child and I distinctly remember chastising the film for its inaccuracies; it was not in accordance to Bullfinchian orthodoxy. Yet I sat entranced, I suppose it was the loincloths.

His work continues to influence me, so much so that the wonderful portrait of Harryhausen with his gorgeous Medusa was found in my resource file for the making of my  painting Andromedus.



oil on canvas

30 by 40 inches

His greatest influence upon my work was his  keen sense of unworldliness that I so admire; recognizable  in time and place yet clearly rooted in the terrain of dreams. I try to capture that otherness and now with his passing I am more determined than ever to explore it. My work , like Harryhausen’s has a  certain “cheesiness”, I’m not unaware of that.  My avoidance of banal realism has in part  been due to a lack of interest  (and skill level) in examining the everyday.  Harryhausen’s delight in the mythical, the wondrous, encouraged me to continue on the  fanciful, Symbolist path.  

In closing the NYT obituary, Harryhausen was quoted  :

“If you make things too real, sometimes you bring it down to the mundane.”

Harryhausen avoided the mundane and left behind a glorious legacy, I thank him for that.

Until next time, take care,


Perseus, completed for now…

Today is my birthday, a monumental one I suppose, a half century.

One year ago, on my last birthday, I put together a post when I was about to begin this painting. The painting was based upon the Perseus myth, but in a bit of gay revisionism, fair Andromeda was replaced by fair Andromedus. The post had many images of wonderful interpretations of the myth, far more wondrous than this daub, I recommend you check it out. But my point was exploring the theme from a personal perspective ; I didn’t think it a big deal. The theme has been mined before, exploring the grace of the female form is never without a bit of titilation; why not have a bit of fun by switching the gender.

Most readers of that post didn’t seem to have an issue but one reader did, and boy was he vocal. I foolishly tangled with him off-line and by conversation’s end was ready to throw away my palette. Suffice to say I did not, with the encouragement of many kind folks, most particularly Clive and Thom, I have plodded on, determined to find a means of expression.

Today the painting is essentially finished, always bits of glazing and tweaks here and there, but for now, finished.

The following is the image, but remember, it is my birthday so you must only say nice things.

Tomorrow, tell me what you really think.

Perseus and Andromedus
oil on canvas
30 by 40 inches

The following are details, like photos of puppies and nephews, it is difficult to determine how many images are necessary. Scroll down when boredom strikes.

the ephebe in distress

details of our hero


and the villain

the sea dragon

and a birthday cupcake from my niece Grace, a virtual treat, she has a cupcake app! As if I didn’t already feel old.

from Gracie

So there you are, I will continue on my Primer, but I am  rethinking the Greeks, time to visit Olympus once more.

My sister shipped this wonderful bust of Pallas Athena for my b’day, she will be perched high in my studio, hopefully the Grey Eyed Goddess will  guide my brush strokes.

from Kat