Mid-summer 2021. I have three or four paintings in the studio in various phases of completion; the painting on the left is still in the early stages (a digital sketch for the finished work is shown here). The subject matter is inspired by the “Salvator Mundi” theme – in this case perhaps I was thinking of a Flemish “Primitive” artist like Petrus Christus? There are ironic hints of Hieronymus Bosch here as well of course. (Is it possible that I was listening to Lake of Fire, by Meat Puppets, while working on this?)
The Road to Epidaurus evokes the Stations of the Cross – in this case, Station 15, The Convalescence. Epidaurus was well-known in the ancient world as a place of spiritual healing; its specialty was Oneiromancy: pilgrims gained insight through their dreams. In this recent painting, Christ, back from near-death, has embarked on a pilgrimage of spiritual self-discovery (with the dog as a spirit guide).
The digital studio is where I work on sketches for new paintings. Although I have dozens of image sets in various stages of development, most of my energy has recently been focused on the therianthropic Serpent-in-the-Garden theme. The therianthrope (part human-part animal) appears early in the history of art (in the caves of the Upper Paleolithic) and is typically associated with Shamanism. As a child, the Serpent-in-the-Garden was my first encounter with such creatures. As the story was told to me (based loosely on the opening chapters of Genesis), a woman, walking alone in a Primordial Garden, was enchanted by the poetry of a talking snake. In early Christian depictions of this story, the Serpent has the upper body of a seductive woman.
Two more examples from the “serpent” set. Much of the imagery in these sketches is based on 3D models, including the urban city-scape (left, with details like hand-built neon signs) and the motel room (right). The three versions of the snake are also from 3-D models built up from “scrap parts” so to speak.
I have a large set of trial images like the one on the right: Alice, in a dingy indoor space, receives enlightenment from the Therianthropic Serpent. I could never quite decide whether this set was “working” – the one on the left seemed better (partly because it incorporated the Goth City-scape which I had also been working on for weeks). The two images which lead off this set, which feature serpents with faces based on a painting by, seemed (at the time at least) to be more consonant with the effect I was looking for.
Left: a detail from one of the images in progress. Right: the Serpent appears in the form of an epiphany to Howdy-Doody. The association with “Shamanism” seems clear: creatures like this evade clear categorization (human? animal?); their liminal aspect enables them to navigate areas of wisdom unavailable to most humans.
This is an example of a Therianthropic Serpent in the art of the Early Renaissance. Note that in this depiction of the Fall (from a royal French prayer book dated c. 1400) the Serpent has decidedly female attributes (typical of depictions of this theme).
This is a recent view of the studio, with the Owl and Pussycat painting on the easel. Other paintings – awaiting final touches and framing – are visible as well.
This is the entrance to the Oneiros Gallery including the list of 12 or so featured paintings. While the gallery itself is virtual (i.e. digital 3-d) the work is real (oil on canvas), framed and sized as shown. Details of the paintings are available in Gallery One (see menu).
Currently on the Easel
Work in progress (oil on canvas) as of December 2020.