The Egypt Series 2006-2011
The paintings in this series draw inspiration from Egyptian artifacts, mythology, wall paintings, etc., or borrow certain ancient Egyptian artistic conventions that I think will complement my own narrative style. The level of obvious Egyptian art influence varies from piece to piece but all are indebted in some way, even if I've just borrowed that distinctive frontal eye in a profile view. I love the fact that ancient Egyptian artists used animal imagery to convey complex ideas about the Big Issues - life, death and an assumed afterlife.
Oil on panel 24" x 24" 2006 Anubis is, loosely, the god of death. Long after I'd started this painting, our dog, Boomer, was poisoned. He survived. I've always felt that had I painted Anubis' nose touching Boomer's, Boomer would have died.
Oil on panel 7" x 5" 2006
Oil on panel 14 1/8" x 14" 2007 The udjat eye (which has other names, such as The Eye of Horus) is a protective symbol, though usually it does not have elephantine features. I used the crocodile as a stand-in for all threats to elephants. A chainsaw-wielding poacher would have been more accurate, but less appealing visually.
Oil on panel 12" x 16" 2007 (sold) global warming, sigh...
Oil on panel 36" x 42" 2007 "Sacred Trees" is a salute to trees in three different traditions: ancient egyptian, Christian and Native American. It depicts a deceased person traveling through the underworld (WI in winter) to Paradise - the oasis on the left side. It was painted during a winter when we had to log our woods to get into the managed forest program. The "Buffalo Tree," with its buffalo head-shaped burl, is a dead tree on our land we wanted to protect.
Oil on panel 24" x 24" 2007 Don't look at me! These baboons were painted by some crazy egyptian artist 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. To me, this painting sums up human existence: man chases sex while death chases man.
Oil on panel 36" x 48" 2008 "Three Falls" is my attempt to use egyptian narrative style in a more extreme way. It tells the story of three falls: one autumn in which our yellow lab, Caramel, died and my horse, Dewey, foundered; an egyptian fall long ago depicting threshers at work, and my fall down a flight of stairs that left a gigantic lump on my leg. Parelli Folks: note my carrot stick with Savvy String and my Parelli halter and lead rope! (Check out the next detail shot.)
Oil on panel 36" x 48" 2008
with Weighted Pigtails India ink wash on paper 14 1/4" X 22 1/4" 2008 My sister, Marilyn, used to wear tights on her head. I think she missed her calling.
Oil on panel 18" x 18" 2008 I saw a photo in the paper of the cute little brick house in Portage, WI, where a band of insane "grifters' holed up, tortured an eleven year old boy, then forced his sister to help murder their mother, whom they buried in the back yard. I'm attempting to restore the house by surrounding it with this egyptian goddess and her healing energy.
Oil on panel 11 1/2" x 13 1/8" 2009 The egyptian "ba" is roughly equivalent to the spirit. The soul of a deceased person was commonly depicted as a human-headed bird called a "ba-bird." Remi, our beloved cat died. He's in transition in this painting.
Oil on paper 5 5/8" x 6 7/8" 2009 Remi just disappeared one day. We were grieving but had no body to bury. Anubis was the god responsible for embalming. I thought the lion-headed embalming table was quite appropriate for a painting honoring our little cat.
Oil on panel 36" x 48" 2009 This and the next two paintings, "Transitive Property of Justice?" and "The Happy Ending" form a conceptual triptych. We assume Remi was killed by a coyote. I conjecture that he may have lost focus while he was busy hunting a mouse, half of whom is visible under Remi's paw. I could not paint the moment of attack, so I have suspended time before it occurred.
Oil on panel 36" x 48" 2009
Oil on panel 36" x 48" 2009 While I was working on the previous painting, Ellis and I came across this dead coyote on the road. This could not have been the coyote who killed Remi. But I wondered if some sort of justice had been served, some mythical scale balanced. This painting has no egyptian elements of style, but I include it here because of its meaning.
Oil on panel 36" x 48" 2010 Here, the coyote stands in judgment before Anubis. The spirits of Remi, his mouse victim and the coyote are joined in harmony in the afterlife. They are depicted as ba-birds, but with their animal heads instead of human heads. I spent almost two years working on paintings to help me cope with the death of a cat we only had for seven months. What a great cat he was - potentially my favorite cat of all time.
Oil on panel 24" x 24" 2011 This painting expresses how I feel every summer, when I'm buried under the weight of horse care. My art life, represented by cloud berets, floats out of reach while I double down on horse care. My horses, Rabbit, Dewey and Rocky, are symbolized in the points of the pyramid. The center image is the bottom of a horse's hoof.
Oil on panel 36" x 48" 2011 (sold) I had a mystical encounter with a snowy owl and knew I would eventually need to paint a snowy owl. When I found what seemed to me to be a snowy owl that had been painted by an ancient egyptian, I knew the time had come. I love the feeling of kinship with an unknown artist who lived so long ago. Each owl has its own moon, but it's the same moon, just as these two very differently painted birds attempt to convey the same "owlness."
Pre-cursors to the Egypt Series
Oil on canvas 42" x 54" 2006 Painting that eye inside the triangle formed by tree branches made me think of the egyptian eye found on our dollar bills. The large eye formed by the branches above the larger horse reminded me of the udjat eye prevalent in egyptian art.
Gouache on paper image 12 1/2" x 9" 2004 This is simply my rendering of an egyptian work of art.
Colored pencil on paper image 29 1/4" x 22" 1993 Of course I'm fascinated by animal mummies. I did many paintings, prints and drawings of cat mummies but the crocodile mummy is even more macabre and appealing to me.