Thursday, April 28, 2011

Artwork of the month: 5 favorite nudes at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

I admire these works for their beauty, their composition, and their important historical value.  They are also nude, which i believe we all like.  Anyway, enjoy them.

My 5 favorite Nudes at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Francois Rude
French, 1784-1855
"Hebe and the Eagle of Jupiter"
1853-1855, bronze

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse
French, 1824-1887
1912, bronze

Louis Corinth
German, 1858-1925
"Nude Girl"
1886, oil on canvas
Aguste Rodin
French, 1840-1917
"The bronze age"
cast 1906, bronze 


"I have no problem with nudity. I can look at myself. I like walking around nude. It doesn't bother me. I see all the people walking around nude; it doesn't bother me."
-Ursula Andress

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Andromeda and the Sea Monster Cetus.

Once again, here is my retelling of the story of Andromeda...
BitTorrent #10 "Andromeda"
Oil on linen
24" x 36"

Here is the sculpture that I studied for composition and content...
Andromeda and the Sea Monster
Domenico Guidi (1625-1701)
Italian (Rome), 1694

These are mostly my notes in my sketchbook that I took as I was learning about the character Andromeda as fully as I could.  Any conclusion as to the impact her story has on our culture today is completely conjecture and the opinions of a very eccentric man.  
The story of Andromeda is well known in our modern world, as it has been retold countless times with each retelling being slightly different.  If you are in my generation you remember the 1981 movie clash of the titans, and the unfortunate remake in 2010.  Regardless of the variations of her tale, the basics within the character and events of Andromedas myth have remained the same.
Let us first take a look at the etymology of her name to get a basic understanding of her story, as the meaning of her name does have an impact on the meaning of the tale.  The literal meaning of any name of a character of a story gives us a peek into the intention of the story.  And with a basic understanding of the weltanschauung (world view) of the time and culture where the story was first told we can then see its truth.  There is a bit of truth to all myths, and we only need understand our own myths and truths to see that of the past.  
Andromeda is taken from the Greek word Andromédē (Ἀνδρομέδη), which means "to think of a man," and comes from the combination of two words.  The word andrós, or anēr (ἀνδρός, or ἀνήρ)  which means "man", combined with the word mēdomai or medesthai (μήδομαι) "to think on and/or to be mindful of" and/or medea meaning "counsels, cunning, devices, and plans" depending on the context of the usage. 
Therefore the name "Andromeda" means “to think of a man” and as strange as that seams it gives us a decent idea of Andromeda as descriptive word in the story and not just a name as a context for understanding.  Say it this way; “to think of a man was chained to a rock as a sacrifice for her mothers sins.”  Regardless of what we think we know of the mind of the ancients that told this story, we can reason that the etymology of Andromeda was basic understanding at the time as it was a common name. 
The basic story...
Within the story of Andromeda, we can see the etymology of her name take its center stage.  Andromeda was the princess of Ethiopia, daughter of king Cepheus and queen Cassiopeia.  She was chained to a rock on the coast as a sacrifice to a sea monster after her mother committed hubris by saying she was more attractive than, the Nereids, who were a portion of the family line of the sea god Poseidon (There were many of nereids and they were all beautiful as goddess should be.).  To punish her mother for thinking she was greater than the gods, Poseidon sent Cetus the sea monster (and not the kraken you child of the 80’s, which is just a legendary classification of sea monsters made famous by Alfred Tennyson, 1830) to destroy the kingdom of Ethiopia.  The only way to stop the Cetus was to sacrifice her virgin daughter to him.
Andromeda was saved by Perseus who slew Cetus with the head of the gorgon medusa which turned him to stone, and then married her.  Keep in mind that Perseus was simply flying by and saw Andromeda chained to the rock, he found her attractive and went to her parents and asked if he could have her if he saved the city.  He was already in possession of a weapon, the gorgon medusas head, that could save the day so Perseus offer to save Andromeda and the city from the sea monster is purely was more for the reputation he would gain.  As an audience in ancient greece or rome hearing this play, we know Andromeda was already promised to wed Phineus.  Starting a fight over her and her wealth, Phineus and his followers were killed at the wedding of Perseus and Andromeda by Perseus use of the gorgons head.  Andromeda moved to Tiryns in Argos with Perseus and they became the ancestors of the Persians.  
When she died Andromeda was given the gift of immortality by the goddess Athena and turned into a constellation next to Perseus and Cassiopeia.  
The whole damsel in distress archetype can be seen over and over again as one of the most common archetypes in myth.  The damsel is always young, attractive, and incapable of saving herself regardless of what her distress is.  For a large portion of history we could simply see this as the differences between the genders and subsequently how gender is applied socially, as stories are a social affair.  As the era of the helpless woman is long gone, we see the role of hero and helpless switch genders, but the concepts of each remain the same.  If myths are an interpretation of our selves and how we see our identity, our place socially, and our potential, then we are always in need of saviors.  I could go on and on about the human condition and our need to fulfill certain roles regardless of gender, but I will simply state that we, mankind that is, has alway been as we are.
For the most part, this is just a great soap opera that pleases everyone.  Although it has a bit of who we were and possibly still are in its telling and retelling over the last 2000 years.  Even if this is a trite and meaningless discussion, we gain an understanding of ourselves by understanding what we fantasize of as myths are our fantasies.  Or at least I gain another piece to the puzzle (that I have been creating for myself) that mankind is.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Andromeda" painting step by step.

Last month Athena and I went to New York for a week on business and pleasure.  We had the chance to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (among other places) and spend a few hours just wandering. 

While we were getting lost we saw this...
Andromeda and the Sea Monster

Domenico Guidi (1625-1701)
Italian (Rome), 1694

 I spent some time observing the piece and was inspired to recreate the idea of "Andromeda" as I saw it presented through the sculpture.  This is it...

"BiTorrent #10 Andromeda" 
oil on linen, 24in x 36in 

Here is a step by step progression of how i created it.
I work in light glaze after glaze of color, slowly transforming the work until I am satisfied with its appearance.  A thin to thick approach to oil painting is both classical and lasting in that the color quality that i can produce as I work is amazing.  At least to me it is.

Each glaze of oil color is a complete reworking of the entire painting.  Its all or nothing as each layer of oil color must be uniformed and transition from color to color as I see it in my mind.  It takes time and patience.  with this piece i went over it 11 times but i only recorded the stages that would show how each new layer 

As always i start my work with the academic study of my subject matter, and in this case the character Andromeda.  I will dedicate a post to that literature when I have taken a professional picture of the new work after it has been varnished.  You will find it interesting enough.

here we go...

 as you can see the entire piece changes slightly with each complete glaze of oil color...

Here we have it...
The finished oil painting, my retelling of the story of "Andromeda"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New pics of Caravaggio in the studio

I thought these were pretty cool pictures of my dog Caravaggio in the studio.  he spends as much time in the studio as I do.  We shot a video for my kickstarter project and he was tired and lazy afterward.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Studio #8 - 2509 Pleasant Avenue South

Since 1997 I have always lived in my studio.  Now that I live with my fiance Athena, and we intend to have a baby someday I cant live in the toxic chemical environment of an art studio.
So I converted our garage into my new Art studio!!!

My 8th studio in Minneapolis is a garage, yep people my wife to be needs something better than living in a studio, so we are renting a house (the roommates downstairs suck).  It was pretty cool the two of us, our two dogs and 1 cat all living in a working art studio that was only 800 or so square feet.  

here are some of my old studios over the years... have seen all of these in my past posts on my studios.

This is my new studio...
...right to left panorama.
I have already been fairly productive here, except for the time I needed to recover from the accident.  I finished the final touches to the studio a few weeks ago.  Funny as it is, I will be moving on in three months to a new larger house with a larger and better studio.

Thanks for reading...
...check back with me soon; I promise there are interesting things to come.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My return to oil painting.

In the summer of 2009 I was hit by a car that ran a red light (while on a cell phone).  I was hurt pretty badly, and i was out of work on medical leave for a year and three months.  During this time i was unable to paint, but I was able to study, to listen to lectures and learn about the subjects I wanted to paint in depth.  The year + of recovery after the accident was the longest time I had gone without painting, and that alone was agony.

I had just finished this painting before I was hit by the car.

BitTorrent #2 "Marinuis Vanderlubbe as Icarus" 
oil on canvas

I was working on these ideas before i was hit...

Study for- BitTorrent #6 "Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist" ink on paper 36x24

I took my study from this oil painting...
"Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist" oil on canvas
Onorio Marinari - 1680 CE

Study for- BitTorrent 5 "The Building of the Trojan Horse" 36x48 ink on paper 24x36
I took my study from this painting...
"The building of the trojan horse" oil on canvas

over the last few months I was able to complete my work where I left off...

BitTorrent 6 "Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist" 
oil on linen

BitTorrent 5 "The Building of the Trojan Horse" 
oil on canvas

Now that these two ideas are complete I have moved on to something complete new to me as far as composition and color go.  Both of these paintings were inspired by works of art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  I am currently working on more of my own abstract thoughts on works of art in the permanent collection at the MInneapolis Institute of Arts.  So far i have been sticking to works from 1800 CE or earlier where the subject-matter is of Greek, Roman or Christian mythology.  

I will post more as I finish them, but now after the accident I am unable to work as fast as I used to so these take a great deal of time (they took quite a bit of time to complete before the accident) to complete.