Thursday, March 14, 2013

And finally...

Puck...with my Fox mask.

I'm still not 100% happy with this one, but I think it's mostly to do with the fact that Puck is such a rich and many layered character, with so many emanations from myth, folklore, pre-christian religions and so forth, that I could spend the rest of my life painting versions of him and still not get it.  He is, for me, also the Green Jack, who is the Green Man, and Herne/Cernunnos, and Robin Goodfellow, and probably Robin Hood, and Pan, and Loki, and many others too.  So not an easy chap to define.  But then, I don't really want to define him...that would diminish him.  I like his mutability, his changeability.  That's how he adapts and survives...even now.  He's still out there, I'm convinced of it.  I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oberon, King of Faery.

Well, I started working on Puck, but being the Trickster and Shapeshifter that he is, he refused to be pinned down.  So I left him alone to have a think about it (he AND I!) and went on with Oberon.  Hopefully he will be a little more contrite and co-operative now, and let me get on and finish his portrait, otherwise he won't get to hang in the gallery next to Titania.

So here is Oberon.  Looking a little alarming perhaps, but then, the King of Faery is no sweet little thing with glittery wings.  Faeries are not to be trifled with, and I've always thought Oberon had a bit of a dangerous streak (it's a pretty mean trick he plays on Titania) and he's always seemed to me to be the sort of faery you DON'T want to get on the wrong side of!  So here he is imagined as a kind of night faery, with crow feathers and skull, and eyes that can look right through you.  I THINK he's finished, but as with Titania, I'm still unsure whether or not to add some text down the side as I did for the Green Jack.  I rather like them as they are, so I might not.

Right, time to wrestle with Puck and try to get him to stand still so I can get a good look at him!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

First painting for 2013...

I've been doing my usual trick, painting in my head instead of on paper or canvas.  It's fine for a while, tossing ideas around, mentally turning things around about to see how they look from different angles, or in different styles/media.  But ultimately there's no substitute for getting down to business and starting.  Because it's only then that the real magic starts, new ideas/directions appear, paths to take that you might never have discovered if you just kept going over the same ground in your head.  But still, I keep doing it and then find that actually starting gets harder and harder.  I have a little exhibition booked for late April, and though I have some work, I need to do more for it.  So I've been turning my brain in knots thinking about all manner of overly ambitious and complex possibilities, when there really isn't time for that, and what I really need to do it just get started on something, anything really, to start the year off and get back into the creative flow.  So today I stopped thinking and started doing.  This is the result.  Titania.  With gum (Eucalypt) leaves!  Acrylic, graphite and pencil on 20cm x 20cm canvas.  Though I don't think she's quite finished yet.  I might add a quote from the play down the side.

I recently saw another production of Midsummer Night's Dream that was rather lovely.  I've lost count of how many I've seen over the years, I think it's my favourite of Shakespeare's plays.  One of the most memorable was way back in 1990, Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson's Renaissance Theatre production in London.  Wonderful stuff!  So I think there will be a Puck (though of course, the Green Jack is another version of Puck), and possibly an Oberon too.

And for an excellent blog post on the need to stop thinking about painting, or writing, or whatever, and get on to doing, check out Terri Windling's latest blog post On Beginnings.
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