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


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.


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.


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:


Resurrection of the Father


oil on canvas

50 by 40 inches


Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert


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

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. 


visual exercise II

The following is the assignment sheet:


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,


Back To Class, First Proofs

The Fall semester began this week and one of my courses is Printmaking III- I cannot believe how quickly time has flown. I am still very much the novice, but I do feel I have a better grip on this elusive medium. This first week of this semester I have focused upon two plates : one a relief print on lino ; the second an intaglio drypoint on copper.

I am determined this semester to achieve a better grasp of intaglio , I find it so challenging. The following are early proofs, the lino being the more successful of the two.

IMG_4098 Redemption of the Father

Artist’s Proof # I

relief print,lino on paper

plate 10″ by 12″


 St Anthony of the Desert

Artist’s proof # II,

drypoint, copper plate, 6″by 8″

As I said the intaglio needs a lot of work. Given that I am determined to work solely in drypoint for this print, the “burrs” are causing me some trouble. I will this weekend rub them out, adding more marks as needed. This is when I wish I had a home press, I am burning with a desire to resolve this problem NOW!

But I must practice patience,  taking deep Ujjayi  breath. Printmaking is not an immediate art, at least with out a home press.

The inspiration for the relief print, which is close to complete, is the following watercolor ( a VERY immediate medium ). 


Redemption of the Father

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


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





Bearded Siren


Albino Boy


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


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.


Bearded Prickly Man


Iguana Boy


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



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,


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.


Evolution of an Eruption (& two randy blue fauns)

IMG_3873 Eruption


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.


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


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,


Hell Hath No Fury…

Just finished Fury, a character from my painting Temptation of Saint Anthony in the Desert.

She is part of a cast of  tempting characters and notably the most feminine ; although the Spouseman swears it is a portrait of him. I think his daffy.

 Anyway dashing off to meet him for our date night, but wanted to post today’s progress first.

IMG_3854detail from Temptation of Saint Anthony in the Desert

She has really developed from this little doodle-print I made ages ago.


 Well I must get ready, until next time, take care,


Dispatch from the Wilderness

Several months ago I posted my intention to begin a new painting  The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert ; these few months later the painting is progressing well enough that I feel able to post an update. I have been working on it in between class assignments and several other smaller paintings.

It is a rather large painting, 36 by 48 inches. The image is a bit fuzzy as I’m having difficulty photographing the painting ; but as the painting is still unfinished a bit of fuzziness allows for progress. The sheet of paper, which I use to wipe off excess paint, hides the Abbot, he is of yet  just a sketch.


Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert


oil on canvas 36 by 48 inches

As I have been noodling with the painting,  I am  as usual kept company by the pugs Rose and Viola. This image below explains my slow progress, Viola just demands a certain amount of attention, she is my greatest Temptation.

562180_10200625206982204_1520932710_nViola, the vigilant studio assistant

I’m taking a break, my eyes grow weary with  the tight work, I have a Dead Mother  I am working on,  a far looser painting; I  will switch off after my dinner break.  Viola is at this moment in the study with me, snoring away, delightful company as always.

Until next time, take care, LG

Saint Antony of the Desert

Today is the feast day of  Saint Antony of the Desert (251-356); according to my Dictionary of Saints, “Antony” is the proper, if not archaic name for the abbot. I am not channeling my latent  New Jersey “guido” tendencies.

He has been a favorite saint of mine since boyhood and I have played upon the theme  of his wilderness exile numerous times, with varying degrees of success. But since leaving L.A. and moving quite literally to the desert I feel a keen kinship to the saint . San Diego, particularly East County where I now live, is a wasteland. It lacks interest in culture, intellectualism or beauty, San Diego of surfing fame is pretty in a vapid sort of way, but for something to sink your creative teeth into it is best to look abroad; or within your own reserves.  

Like the famed abbot, I retreat to  my cell and work, time and again I am stunned at how this”exile’ has been a boon. when I was in L.A. I would dawdle with vanities, little actual painting aside from what I was being paid to do was attempted. This hermitage has become a treasure.

I mentioned earlier I was reading a brief biography of Max Beckman by Reinhard Spieler, Max Beckman, 1884-1950, The Path to Myth (Taschen). I have long admired his beautiful 1936/37 triptych Temptation of Saint Anthony; what I didn’t know was his thoughts behind the subject. According to Spieler, Beckman felt:

“Ultimately Temptation deals with the inner conditions necessary for the creation of art.  Beckman depicts the artist as a modern St. Anthony, exposed to a myriad of temptations; at the same time these temptations are the foundations and mainspring of his art.” (121).

This had me thinking,  for Beckman’s thoughts made clear my own nebulous pondering ; so often I too am tempted by many wonderful inspirations, some “sacred” and some decidedly profane.   How do I go about synthesizing them into work that is authentic to my own desires and not slavish to the source. What I do not want is a mock Baroque or Renaissance pastiche.  I made a list of what has haunted and inspired : classicism, academic realism, Renaissance/Baroque art, porn, saints, narratives and myth making, on and on.  What I hope to do in my next painting is confront these tempters/inspirations head on, in my own version of Anthony in the Desert.

The following are a few sketches that I have been putting together, many more will follow.


detail of tormenting fauns


Preliminary sketch, I am most likely going to replace the conventional depiction of the abbot with a self-portrait .


An earlier sketch, I like elements of this and may very well include them in the final painting …or not.

I was also, just to clear my mind playing upon an image of a  seductress from one of my sketches, translated as a relief print.

It is a very poor initial print, I will play with it some more, make a final print in my upcoming class when I have access to a proper press. But I thought I would include it with this post nonetheless.


My introduction to the saint was not though religious fervor but through art. Numerous, far gifted artists have played upon this theme. I have in the past made note of it, this link is for a particular  personal favorite; not only because there are numerous pieces of wonderful art but because there is a really wonderful clip by the incredible George Mélliès, his La Tentation de Saint Antoine, 1898. It is not to be missed.

Until next time,

take care, be well,