May 282009

This is my preliminary drawing in paint of “Orpheus After the Descent.” The canvas is 18×18. I’ve sketched in figures of my Orpheus and the tigers in Cadmium Red, because it is easily absorbed into other pigments. It also contributes to an underpainting in warm tones for the shadows of the tunnel entrance. I’ve begun a larger painting of Orpheus “Before the Descent,” but set it aside while I took care of several commissions. I’d always intended to use this picture of my model, Larry, from the same photoshoot, in a second, smaller painting. The addition of the tigers became a possibility when Larry told me a friend of his had both a tiger and a lion as pets. Voila! It just fit the myth. So heartbroken is Orpheus, after losing Euridice again — just after he’d nearly regained her — that he plays his harp at the Entrance of the Underworld in hopes that he will be given a second chance. Here is an excerpt from Bullfinch’s Mythology:

Seven days he lingered about the brink, without food or sleep; then bitterly accusing of cruelty the powers of Erebus, he sang his complaints to the rocks and mountains, melting the hearts of tigers and moving the oaks from their stations. He held himself aloof from womankind, dwelling constantly on the recollection of his sad mischance.

So! I’m heading back to the studio to start adding some color! Au Revoir for now.

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