Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rite of Passage
















I am still framing work for the Art Tour and just finished this piece.  Tomorrow I will begin hanging artwork and the transformation of my studio into a gallery.  I am looking forward to the weekend!

Above, is Rite of Passage (14.5 x 36 in.), my Monotype with silver leaf mounted to panel.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hylas and Hercules & Portage

Hylas and Hercules. Monotype on Panel, ( 5.5 x 5.5 in.)




































Here are two more images that reference “The Argonautika” by Apollonious of Rhodios.
These images are Monotypes and each will be exhibited in my studio during the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.  Everyone is invited.  There is always something new and always, always, much that is unique and fun.  The tour is free!

Portage, Monotype, (5.5 x 5.5 in.)

Medea

Medea, Monotype, (13.25 x 17.75 in.)
 “Behind every great man there is a great woman,” or so the saying goes.  In the myth of The Argonautika, Medea is the heroine behind the hero and is absolutely devoted to Jason, though she also desires power in her own right.   She is the most complex character in The Argonautika and not everything works out well for those she perceives as a threat or for those who have wronged Jason.

Because of Euripide’s characterization of her in his play “Medea,” she will forever be maligned and remembered for “doin’ it for herself.”   However, without Media, there is absolutely no “winning” of the Golden Fleece for Jason.   Only Media’s magical knowledge and sacrifice of political allegiance, position and family make Jason’s Quest for the Golden Fleece possible.



The Monotype,  Medea,  will be exhibited in my studio, 23520 147th Ave SW, Vashon Island WA., Studio  #11, during the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Technicolor Angels

Ariel, Giclee Print, (8.75 x 6.5 in.)
Jophiel, Giclee Print, (8.7 x 6.5 in.)
























I have completed ten collages created from monotype papers around the subject of Angels.  These images will be exhibited as an editioned series of Giclee Prints in my studio during the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.  Above and below are four of the ten images.

Winged beings have played mythic roles in many cultures through time. Zetos and Kalais, the winged sons of Boreas, God of the North Wind, were two of Jason’s companions in the Argnautica.  Though Hermes, Zeus’s express messenger, wore his wings on his boots, his Olympian compatriots Nike and Cupid wore theirs where we have come to expect, sprouting from their shoulders.   That’s generally where you will find them attached in depictions of Valkyries in Norse tradition, Faeries in Celtic myth and of course to Cherubim, Seraphim and depictions of Angels in contemporary Jewish and Christian tradition.

The English word angel, derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, means messenger.  No where in the Bible are these divine messengers described as winged nor are they represented in that way in early Christian art.  Sometime in the later part of the 4th century however, Angels appear suddenly to have grown them or at least artwork began depicting divine messengers complete with wings and another fashionable innovation of the period, halos. 

My Angel imagery is primarily inspired by the paintings of the early Italian Renaissance artist Fra Angelico.  I have always admired his various depictions of the Annunciation and his rendering of Angel Gabriel's technicolor wings.


Gabriel, Giclee Print, (8.75 x 6.5 in.)
Michael, Giclee Print, (8.75 x 6.5 in.)



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Iapetos

Iapetos (12 x 12 in) Oil on canvas over panel



































In our science based epoch Iapetos (Iapetus) is best know as a moon of Saturn.  Like so many astronomical names (place and product names as well), Iapetos is of Greek origin and the deep past.   When Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Astrologer and Astronomer to the Sun King,  Louis the XIV of France, identified four of Saturn’s moons in 1671 he named one of them Iapetus, a brother giant of Titan Cronus or as the Roman world would have known him, Saturn. 

Science may be all about the measurable, knowable, search for truth but as Sir Isaac Newton said “In order to see beyond the horizon, one must stand on someone else’s shoulders” and so will every generation who looks out and forward, be they giants of science and reason, or the generation of Olympian Gods that followed the mythic giants of the Golden Age.

A detail of my oil painting Iapetos appears on my invitation to the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.  It will be on exhibit in my studio (No. 11 on the tour map), located at 23520 147 Ave SW,  December 3-4 and 10-11, the first two weekends of December.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Totems

Through time animals have been the source of many of human kinds most powerful symbols. My Monotypes Totems and Animalia are two from a series that explores symbols or totems as subject.

A totem is something that serves as a symbol for or emblem of an individual or group. Frequently the totem is of the natural world and there are many examples of plants and animals as totems. Finally, the totem has mythic association with the individual, family or group.

Though the word totem is Ojibwe in origin and Native American animal totems immediately come to mind, totem like beliefs and totems as symbols are culturally prevalent throughout the world.
 
My previous blog about Io and Argus referenced Hera’s symbol or totem, the Peacock and how he got his tail.  Here are a few more examples of symbolic animal association in Greek myth and contemporary belief.

Posidon’s totem would be the Horse, Athena’s the Owl, and moving across cultures Hindu Goddess Saraswati's animal symbol was also the Peacock.  Vishnu has many totems but the Conch and the Lotus come to mind.  In Christian teaching  St. Luke’s totem would be the Ox and St. Mark’s the Lion.

Totems, at left, is a Monotype (17 3/4 x 7 1/2 in) and will be exhibited in my studio during the the Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour 

Animalia, below, is a Monotype (10 x 22 in.) and will be exhibited at the Heron’s Nest Gallery on Vashon Island during the tour and throughout the month of December 2011. 


Io and Argus

Io and Argus, Monotype, 7.5 x 7.5 in.
In my previous blog about the ship and ship builder Argo I referred to one of  Hera’s symbols or totems, the Peacock.  This blog is about my Monotype Io and Argus and one of my favorite stories in Greek myth.

Zeus the father, or Zeus the philanderer, depending on your point of view, undeniably loved women (we will leave Ganymede for another blog).  His conquests, be they goddess or mortal, populated Olympus and the Heavens with demigods, nymphs and heroes. 

Io, was one of  his loves.  She was a princes of Argos, and priestess of Hera.  It was perhaps in that capacity that Zeus first saw lovely Io, wooed and pursued her.  In order to deceive his, justifiably jealous wife, Goddess Hera,  Zeus cloaked the earth and his liaison with Io in clouds. The clouds however only served to rouse Hera’s suspicion and through the Cumulus, Cirrus and Stratus she descended to find Zeus standing next to a lovely white... heifer. 

Guilty Zeus, sensing Hera’s approach, had turned poor Io into a cow.  Hera immediately saw through this deception but chose only to remarke upon the beauty and obvious purity of Io and requested the lovely cow as a a present.  Philandering Zeus was unwilling to admit the ruse or deny Hera’s request and so Io the the heifer was led away to be chained to the sacred olive at the temple Heraion of Argos where Argus Panoptesa, Hera’s loyal servant was appointed her guard.

The Titan Argus was a particularly appropriate choice to watch over Io.  Argus had a hundred eyes and when he did sleep only a few of his many eyes actually closed.   While Argus watched and Io wept Zeus enlisted Hermes help in freeing Io.  Hermes eventually lulled Argus to sleep with song and story and when the last of his many eyes were closed he killed him.

Hera, outraged by this turn of events, sent gadflies to plague Io who was forced to wander the earth without rest and thus inspired many places to become associated with her name and story.  The straight that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus (meaning ox passage) is one of them.

Hera, perhaps as tribute or plain practicality took the many eyes of her faithful servant Argus and placed them in the tail of the bird that would become her totem, the Peacock.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Argo



































My Monotype Argo depicts the engineer Argo presenting a plan of the ship that he will construct and will eventually carry Jason and his crew of heroes on their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Jason’s patron Goddess Hera, here represented by her totem or symbol, the Peacock, helped Argo select the timbers from the trees of Mount Palion to build the boat.  She also supplied a limb for its keel taken from the sacred oak of the oracle at Dodona.  The talking keel would aid the heroes in their journey with its gift of prophecy.  When the ship was complete it was named for the builder Argo and thenceforth the heroes that sailed upon it would be known as Argonauts.

Argo is a Monotype with metal leaf mounted to panel. (16 x 16 x 2 in.) It will be exhibited in my studio, stop number 11, during the Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Byzantium
















The wonderful print collateral supporting Vashon’s 2011 Island Holiday Studio Tour and my own studio invitation just arrived.  The brochure, my card, my evite as well as the tour website were created by Sy and Ric Novak of Novak Creative.  Hats off, once again, for all that they do to professionally present and connect the many artists and art organizations of Vashon to the world.

What is present day Istanbul was once Constantinople and once upon a time Byzantium.  My painting Byzantium is meant to reflect a way we may perceive time as history and history as the stratification through time of place.

When out of political and military necessity Constantine moved the Roman capital to Byzantium in 326 it had already existed as a Greek city, situated at the only opening to the Black Sea, since 667 BC. Greek and Roman sculpture, columns, doors and marbles were taken from temples and cities throughout the Roman empire and brought to Byzantium to adorn new monuments and reflect the magnificence of Romes new capital.

My painting Byzantium appears in the brochure and on the reverse of my 2012 Holiday Card.  It is oil on canvas, 14 x 40 in.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pyrrhic Dance






































While reading “The Argonauticka,” by Apollonios Rhodios, and following hero Jason and the crew of the Argo through the islands and ports of call visited by his ship Argo, I came upon several references to the gods worshiped at Samothrace and Lemnos in the Korybantes, Kabeiroi or Cabeiri Rites that were celebrated in ritual dance. 

Dance, according to the Greek ideal, was one of the civilizing activities, like wine-making or music.

These dances perhaps originated as Cretan, and as Dionysus/Zeus oriented purification, or coming of age, initiation rituals.  Eventually “Pyrrhicaial” male dance, became a formal competition in the Hellenic world.  Armed with swords and shields, group participants were accompanied by drum and rhythmic stamping of feet and performed in celebration as worship, for acclaim and monetary reward.

Above, rust prints mounted to wood panel, Pyrrhic Dance, (8 X 10 x 1.5 in.) and below, Persian Dance, (8 x 10 x 1.5 in.), will exhibit at the Heron’s Nest at 17600 Vashon Hwy. SW on Vashon Island, WA. The show opens December 2, at 6 PM, the first Friday of December.  That’s also the official opening of the Vashon Island 2011 Holiday Art Studio Tour.  These and several other of my mono prints in rust and monotype prints will exhibit and are for sale at the Heron’s Nest until January 5, 2012.




Friday, November 4, 2011

Rust Print, an explanation



































I am still exploring the “Rust Print” process.  Most of what I have made so far won’t be exhibited until the Spring and Fall of 2012 but I have rusted and mounted to panel a few of my images and they will be on display at the Heron’s Nest this December.

Here is a little bit about my process. 

Vashon islander Bob Powell of Meadow Creature helped me to cut mild and Corten steel to the shapes I had designed using his high pressure water jet machine.  The water jet cutting process is ideal for cutting intricate shapes and because the machining introduces no stress and little if any heat the steel plates remain quite flat.  I next made the shaped steel plates to rust with several applications of hydrogen peroxide, salt and vinegar.  Next I lay the substrate I wished to transfer the rust to over the plate and thoroughly dampened it before placing wax paper or plastic over everything to hold in the moisture. Next a sheet of plate glass was placed over everything to provide surface contact and weight.  I tried to rust dampened paper but found that high thread count muslin worked much better, perhaps because of the materials tensile strength and the cotton’s desire to hold moisture.  The paper rusted but tore upon removing it from the plate.  The last step? Wait and wait some more.  Rust will  eventually transfer into the material and a unique image is made.  This is technically a mono print because every print will rust differently but the plate shape is constant.

 Above is an image of one of the rusted plates along with the rust image I made from it.