I painted another one of the figures last night for Canto 5: Minos, Judge of the Damned. This soul is being pulled up the stairs by the demon on the left side. If you look closely you can see them clawing at the slimy black staircase. With this figure finished I am now ready to finish Minos and then the backs of Dante and Virgil which should be easy. The hardest part will be the medieval chair under Minos and the parade of souls in the distance that I am planning to paint.
I guess it has been quite a while since someone has depicted hell in a painting. I spent a lot of time during college studying the paintings of Bosch, disturbing masterpieces like Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Triumph of Death and one of my favorite paintings William Adolphe Bouguereau - Dante and Virgil in Hell. The response to this panel and specifically this part of the panel has really shocked a number of people. I'm getting a lot of comments and messages about how disturbing this figure is. I guess I should be flattered it is getting a good reaction but I can't help but wonder has it been that long since someone in the fine art world has seen the face of pure evil? Sure we see it in horror movies and video games but what about the art world? I'm sure this is something I will have to ponder more as I continue to paint this series over the next three years. Spoiler alert - it is going to be disturbing. I am painting the Inferno. Lol. Hope you enjoy the work so far. I still have to paint the other four figures.
Last night I had a great session roughing in the upper body of a demon. This is about 3 1/2 hours of work painting the torso, arms and one of the hands. This is the demon on the left side of King Minos that is dragging one of the souls up the stairway. You can see that the face of the demon is a little matte. After the last session dried and it is a little hard to see but that will change once I work on it again. In my next session I am looking to work on the details of the face as well as the left hand.
I decided to keep going on the background of the painting last night as I was on a roll. I continued the work I started the previous two nights and I finished the entire cavernous background. I still have to add a few highlights on the rocks to reflect the bright light coming from the right side but for the most part background of Canto 5 is finished. I began working on the middle of the painting which is the stairway that ascends up to King Minos. I also roughed in part of the rocks he was resting his foot on. I have to add some highlight elements to make them pop more but I want to see how the figures look around it before I go back in and paint them. I'm really happy to have most of the environment finished in this painting. I am moving onto painting the demon and the soul he is pulling up the stairs to be judged by King Minos. I should be able to rough in their entire bodies during my session this afternoon and tonight. I still have a lot of work to go but I'm making a lot of progress in just six days.
I worked a little more on the background of Canto 5 last night. It is the area behind the figure of King Minos. I will be adding a group of souls to this background area in a single file line being led down to Minos for judgement. I did a little bit of work on the face of one of the souls yesterday afternoon as well but I didn't get a shot of it. I am still just layering in the basic shapes of her face and right arm. I will take more photos of her once I have worked on her more.
Day 4 is finished and I'm rounding out the work on the face of King Minos. I spent a little time late last night working on the background behind his face and blocking in some of the darker sections of the right and left side before I was too tired to continue. I'm very happy with the painting so far and I'm excited to work on some of the other figures this week. At least the focal point of the painting, the face of King Minos is where I want it to be at such an early stage of the painting. The rest should go very well.
After a weekend of workshops with students I'm back into panel 6! It was a good day roughing in the contrast, color and punching up the opacity of some of the whites. I'm ready tomorrow to get into the details for the figures. I can't wait!
I apologize for not posting this sooner. A few days ago I finished the initial grisaille for Canto 5, Minos, Judge of the Damned for the series. It was only a few hours of work but you can see my initial idea for the composition. It will have five figures including, Minos, Virgil and Dante and a demon with one of the figures that is being judged. In the background I will be adding some of the crowd of souls being led down to where Minos is in the foreground.
Sorry it has been several weeks since I've worked on the series. I had a major commission I needed to finish and install in a church. I've been back and forth with Dr. Kleinhenz over the last two days and I now have a composition ready for Panel 6: Minos, Judge of the Damned. I can't wait to start. The panel will have 5 figures including Dante, Virgil and Minos as well as many other smaller figures in the background. I'm really excited about this composition and I can't wait to start.
Worked with the model for King Minos today for panel 6 of my Dante's Inferno series - Canto 5: Minos, Judge of the Damned. I'm really happy with some of the sketches I'm working up for the composition. The composition I am working up will have about six figures and I think it will have all the intimidation and the drama I was hoping to bring to this panel. I can't wait to get started!
I wasn't aware of this lecture until today. I came to find out that my Dante's Inferno series was featured in a discussion during a lecture in November 2017. Click the youtube video above to listen. My work is discussed around 1:02:00 and talked about for a few minutes. It is an honor to be recognized in the context of this discussion.
This is the first in a new lecture series by Dr. Micah Christensen (PhD, History of Art, University College London) meant to arm artists and art collectors with a greater understanding of how to approach art. (Go to artisticarsenals.com for additional episodes in the series and an accompanying reading list.) Each lecture is a series of slides with the lecture and comments from the audience recorded in real time. In this lecture, Dr. Christensen met gathered with a group of artist from the Beaux-Arts Academy to talk about how to read and understand paintings that often seem out of reach due to historical, cultural, or aesthetic distance. They include works by Rubens, Holbein, Titian, Rothko, Malevich, and Ai Weiwei. In this lecture, Dr. Christensen gathered with a group of artist from the Beaux-Arts Academy to talk about how to read and understand paintings that often seem out of reach due to historical, cultural, or aesthetic distance. They include works by Rubens, Holbein, Titian, Rothko, Malevich, and Ai Weiwei.
Here is a detail photo of panel 4, "Charon." I hope everyone enjoys the way this one turned out. It's exciting to see the first five panels in this series together. I can't wait to post a photo of it next week. I have also just had a consultation with Dr. Kleinhenz about panel 6 and I have a rough idea of the composition. Monday I'll be working with the model for King Minos! Stay tuned...
I've just completed the fifth panel in my 40 painting series! As you may remember this panel is actually from Canto 3 and will be the fourth panel in the series. At the time I was ready to proceed with panel 4 I didn't have a model so I decided to skip this one and move onto panel 5: Dante and Virgil Visit the Great Poets of Antiquity in Limbo. I don't regret the decision to paint this panel out of sequence because from here on the series will start to descend into hell and the palette for the coming paintings will be much different from the first few. I hope you enjoy this new painting. I will be posting detail photos and my customary behind the scenes video for it next week. For now, I need rest. I've been pulling a lot of late hours to finish this one by February 1. I just missed my deadline by a day. I will be working with the model for Panel 6 on Monday. The title for Panel 6 will be Minos, Judge of the Damned!
Help me to keep going on this epic project by considering a donation to my Patreon campaign. Your contribution will help me bring one of the greatest poems in history to life over the next three years. Thank you for your consideration.
As many of you know, I've embarked on the largest artistic journey of my life in mid 2016 when I decided to paint the most comprehensive series on Dante's Inferno. At the time, I wondered if people were taking me at my word. Now, over 18 months later, the public is finally starting to understand the scope of what I've taken on. However, the most challenging dilemma for me is how do I engage in a project this large without it disrupting my life. Sadly, the answer is that there is no way for it not to. In the last year, I was forced to take on a lot of commission work in order to keep my family supported while I was also working on this project. The result? I was only able to complete less than 5 of my projected total of 12 each year. If I do not find other ways to support this project, it may not be completed in time for the 700the anniversary in 2021. The importance of having the series on schedule is to make certain I'm ready for the show in Florence, Italy and the venues set up in the states. This is why I've decided to start a Patreon account. Your monthly support, no matter what level, will enable me to see this project to the end, and grow a larger audience, which will only secure the success of the published book and the notoriety of the series. Thank you so much for your support.
Here is a progression shot of the face of Charon from Saturday night's session. I am hoping to push a lot more intensity and detail in the face in my next session. I've been working in tandem on my Baptism of Christ painting at the same time so there has been a lot of back and forth between the two. I'm really happy how things are progressing though.
My apologies! It has been a few weeks since I posted anything showing the progress of Panel 4. That doesn't mean that I wasn't working. The holidays tend to slow things down a little. When left with the choice of spending time with my family or doing computer work I will never pick the latter. Anyhow, here are a few shots of Charon. I've worked up two layers of paint on the background in some areas. Last night I began work on the background behind the figure. I will continue that work tonight. Fortunately, with fewer characters in this painting, I'm hoping I will be able to push my productivity forward for the year. With only 4 paintings completed last year, I need to finish 12 of these paintings a year to finish in time for 2021. I have several grants in the works and I am looking for additional investors to help me stay in the studio working and less time marketing to make up the difference.
I am hoping the cold weather snap we've had here is coming to an end soon. We have had single digit temperatures for the last two weeks and with my studio not quite finished it has been a little colder than normal. I'll post more shots as I work ahead. Take care.
Here is the new preliminary charcoal drawing of Canto 3: Charon which will be Panel 4 in my Dante's Inferno series. The drawing is available for sale here. This sketch is but a sample of the dramatic and intense composition I have planned for the fourth panel.
A detail photo I just cleaned up from Panel 5, Canto 4 from my Dante's Inferno series. Oil on AlumaComp, 48 x 60" 2017