Onward in the Underworld

Today I was trying to ready some images of my maquettes for Clive Hicks-Jenkins. The making of the maquettes is great fun but I feel a certain hesitancy in posting the compositions, fearing they might  not be just right.As we all know a composition is meant to be fussed with and developed. The compositions I submitted will most likely look very different when paint goes to canvas.

This is true with the painting I am working on now, the progression from maquettes, to sketches, to proposal rendering has seen my figures twist and turn until I feel relatively satisfied. I have a bit of work to do still but I am closer to vague concept I had in my head.

But for now, for tonight, I will just show unfinished snippets.

Princess Xquic encountering the slain Hun Hunahpu

As I said, still working out details but closer to what I had imagined. The following is of the sacrificed Maize God. I’ve been enjoying painting the wild clouds of Xibalba, my years of decorative mural painting comes in handy at times.

Slain Maize God, Hun Hunahpu

As I mentioned I sent some images to Clive, one of the maquette compositions might  soon be realized as a painting. It is an idea I have been toying with and sketching out for some time. It is the Resurrection of the Maize God, his sons the Hero Twins having redeemed his honor, the Maize God like a vibrant shoot of corn erupts forth with vitality ( and a certain degree of virility). With this grand gesture, Man has a chance to survive. 

Resurrection of Hun Hunahpu

As can be seen it it a simple trinity composition, the Hero Twin Hunahpu to the left, his brother Xbalanque to the right, their father Hun Hunahpu front and center, savior like. The composition is loosely based upon a Late Classic Mayan bowl, the image is unfortunate, but one can get the idea.

Scene from the interior of a Late Classic Maya bowl.

Well that is it for now,  a wonderful day, happy to have painted and composed my little cast of maquettes.

Tomorrow, back to painting.

Take care.

The Wrath of the Hero Twins

I’m winding down (for now), on the creation of  my pantheon of gods, demons and beasties. I spent much of yesterday and today finishing up the Hero Twins, central players in the Popol vuh.

My very first maquette, link, was of Xblanque, one of the Maize God’s sons, I wasn’t very happy with him from the start but after a few revisions (mostly a spray tan) I’m happier. I ditched his Roman warrior helmet for one of Olmec design. I also added jaguar markings as he is traditionally depicted with patches of jaguar skin.

His brother (in my mind, the younger, slighter, prettier Twin) is Hunahpu, the Spotted One, I have just finished up.

The paint is a bit tacky.

Now that they are complete, I look forward to creating compositions, most particularly revenge upon the Lords of Xibalba for sacrificing their father the Maize God, Hun Hunahpu.

It really is a bit like playing with paper dolls.

Hunahpu the Spotted One- the cuter of the two.
Xbalanque the Jaguar Spotted

I am taking satisfaction with the fact that due to my great many characters I can now cobble together multiple compositions with increasingly complex narrative, in this case Hunahpu  menaced by the wrathful Quetzacoatl.

The Menace above.

 Clive had asked for some images of my process of creating maquettes, I confess I have never taken photos of the “before”, too much adrenaline to slow down. When creating my figures I am biting at the bit to see them come alive-I’m beginning to understand God’s delight in playing with mud.

With that pompous comment floating about, the following is an image  of the uncut royal headdresses  which are based upon Olmec design.

Uncut headdresses for the Boys.

The design from which I drew inspiration is from an Olmec altar stone depicting an acrobat in motion. Upon his head he is wearing a headdress notable for its reference to the Maize God. Most striking is the tripartite, curiously phallic shaped maize emblem which crowns the headdress. The three part maize emblem occurs time and again, the emerging corn symbolizing fertility and abundance. The acrobat, most likely in a frenzy due to hallucinogens and ritual blood-letting, is recreating through dance, the narrative of the Maize God’s ritual sacrifice and rebirth.

I  find this all terribly fascinating, I hope it doesn’t bore  reader to tears.

Carved Altar

Carved Altar

600-300 B.C.

Stone

80 x 20 cm

Olmec

Museo de Arte Precolombino, Guatemala

So far, this has been great fun, I have been painting, but the images are blurry due to the intimate size. After the pups have their walkies I will return to a quiet studio to paint-demons await me!

Rose (left) and Viola patiently waiting for their evening stroll.

Good night folks.