"These jewel-like paintings intuitively fuse different aesthetic traditions, folk art and old master, with natural grace and an uncanny quality that may be a species of magic." —American Arts Quarterly
If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again I shall not live in vain.
~ Emily Dickinson
I painted two winter scenes for Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah. I love the calm and quiet hush of a landscape blanketed by snow. “Child with Winter Robin” was inspired by walking in the hills and trails of Santa Fe, where the sound of birds can be heard, almost as if spring is not long in coming. “Beloved with Amaryllis and Golden Arrow” is a reprise of a 2015 painting of the Amaryllis myth. This time the subject is the boy beloved by Amaryllis.
I first painted the amaryllis story back in 2015. That first version featured the girl with the arrow wounding her heart.
These paintings were inspired by the story of Orpheus and Euridyce in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and by Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice. Eurydice gets bitten by a snake and dies on her wedding day. Orpheus, inconsolable with grief, gains admittance to the underworld and his beautiful lyre music and singing of his grief persuades Hades to let him guide Eurydice back into the living. The condition is that she must follow behind him and he must not look back at her. When he sees the light, he looks back at her too soon as she is still standing in the underworld. She is immediately pulled back into the land of the dead forever. In the opera, Euridice pleads with Orfeo to look back at her and he is unable to resist. When she is returned to the underworld, he wishes to kill himself to be with her. Amore (Love/Cupid) stops him and as a reward for his undying love, returns Euridice back to life and reunites the lovers. Obviously I much prefer the happier ending in the opera version.
Che farò senza Euridice What will I do without Euridice
Dove andrò senza il mio ben. Where will I go without my wonderul one.
Euridice, o Dio, risponde Euridice, oh God, answer
Io son pure il tuo fedele. I am entirely your loyal one.
Euridice! Ah, non m´avvanza Euridice! Ah, it doesn´t give me
più socorso, più speranza any help, any hope
ne dal mondo, ne dal cel. neither this world, neither heaven.
~ Orfeo's aria in Gluck's opera "Orfeo ed Euridice"
In Greek mythology, Hades, lord of the underworld, fell in love with Persephone, goddess of springtime, while she was picking flowers in a field. The Fates have decreed that anyone consuming the fruits of the underworld must spend eternity there. Persephone was persuaded into eating some pomegranate seeds (four or six?) and thus was forced to spend part of each year in the underworld.
This is the last work to be included for the “Love and Loss” show. The reception is this Friday 5-7pm at Meyer East. I hope to see you there if you are in Santa Fe. Preview the works here.
“The Runaways” is a special work for me. I find myself repeatedly attracted to its ambiguity and the juxtaposition of fragility and danger. Are they running away from peril? Or could they in fact be arsonists fleeing the scene of the crime? The girl is some strange child-goddess, a young Athena or Diana. And one can only think of the deer as an innocent casualty, a silent witness even.