Category Archives: figurative painting

Spelunking and Cheesecake in Progress

This Orpheus Painting is much larger than the other, 36×36. The Cheesecake painting is a commission. I’m allowing it to dry because I need to drizzle some strawberry sauce onto it and paint that, but I thought I’d blog the underpainting anyway.

A few blogs ago I mentioned my  painting inspired by Circe, Odysseus and the pigs.  I had found some pigs on Hwy M, south of Verona.  Well, I’ve been past their paddock 4 times and never again found them outside. Did I mention that they were an hour’s drive from here? (I’ve even tried calling “Suey!” to no avail.) Perhaps they aren’t even there anymore. I could of course stop by the house again and ask, but no one would be home until evening and by that time it would be too late in the day for photography because I wanted bright sunlight. So, I’m on the search for more accessible pigs and have located another. This one lives in the country around Mineral Point, so it should be easier to get to.

An exciting opportunity has come up. The State Representative for our district, Steve Hilgenberg, is going to be hanging the artwork of artists from his district in his office in Madison. My time slot is January 20 to February 24, 2010. It will be another opportunity to get my paintings out in the public eye.

I’m also trying to arrange to go to an Equine Painting Workshop with a wonderful Equine Artist, Lynn Maderich, scheduled in Minneapolis at the Atelier Lack in Minneapolis. (The thing needing to be arranged is free lodging at the homes of friends and relatives. More on that later.)

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The Musician after the Descent

This is the final picture, with the guitar strings and the frets etc. painted. I’m really loving this project of painting a response to the Greek Myths. I was a Greek student in college and have had the enduring intention of incorporating that love into creative work. My central interest has always been the Trojan War and I spent years researching a novel and writing 30 chapters of novel with the Trojan War as its theme — who knows when I will have time to get back to it! — but in the meantime I’m able to have fun with these literary allusions in modern dress. (See my posting of May 2, for the exact reference to the Orpheus Myth portrayed in this picture.) I’m in the process of doing a larger painting in response to Orpheus and Euridice “before the descent,” which I will blog in progress soon.

In the meantime, here’s a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke (who wrote a number of poems about the Greek Myths as well). I think it applies well to this painting.


How am I to contain my spirit lest
It touch on yours? How lift it through a space
Higher than you to things environing?
Oh, I should gladly lay it by to rest
In darkness with some long-forgotten thing
At some outlandish unresounding place
Which won’t re-echo your deep echoing.
But all that touches you and me comes so,
It takes us jointly like a stroking blow
That draws one voice from two strings by its tilt.
Upon what instrument then are we strung?
And by the hands of what musician wrung!
Ah, sweet the lilt.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Orpheus After the Descent, Oil on Canvas, 18×18, $900 USD

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No Frigate Like a Book

I feel certain I will not be introducing a new poem to anyone; this poem by
Emily Dickinson is so famous to bibliophiles. I have decided to post it though, since it expresses this painting perfectly.

I completed this painting yesterday just in time for Gallery Night in Mineral Point (WI) this Saturday. I worked on making the receding edges soft and the illuminated ones sharp. I like particularly the sheen on the fabric of the chair arm and the blend of soft colors in the hands.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears the human soul!

— Emily Dickinson

No Frigate Like a Book, Oil on Canvas, 20×24, Sold

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