After several months of planning and painting the first panel in my series, Canto 3, is finished. The only thing I was unhappy about is that the painting took as long as it did. There were many weeks where I was trying to find the right look for the costumes, how the fabric flowed and in the end, I was able to purchase the right fabric and "look" that I wanted. I don't forsee this as being a problem going forward. Also, I was swamped two different times with commissions and the holidays played a part in distracting me away from my studio. All in all, I probably worked on the painting for 4 weeks total. I'd like to see each painting, going forward, down to 2-3 weeks each. Thanks for all the kind remarks about the first panel. I hope you'll stick around to see the other 39.
Happy New Year, everyone. Sorry, it has been so long since I posted an update. Over the last two months, I've been involved in several exhibitions, a very demanding art competition and tons of commissions that came in just before the holiday season. To make matters worse I slipped a disc in my back on Dec 30 and lost a few days of painting time until I was able to sit upright and work for long periods. Fortunately, it's now eight days later and I'm feeling almost 100% again and I'm looking forward to getting back in the gym to work out.
Check out some of the short videos I shot and posted on Instagram in the last two weeks while working on Canto 3.
In the last few weeks, I painted all of the rock formations in the foreground and gradually made my way to the distant sky and mountains. I posted some video on Instagram in mid-December when I was painting Virgil's face. I got a lot of positive feedback for that and when I posted a few videos of me painting the sky later in December. You can see some of them above. I'm really excited to finish this painting up. With my schedule opening up now you can expect me to paint one of these panels every few weeks. My goal is to do 20 this year. We'll see how things end up at the year's end.
I made the decision last week, to begin with, Canto 3. It was more of a practical choice because the model I chose for Dante would not be available to pose until mid-November, thus I chose a canto with a back pose for the main character. Choosing to start with this panel was also a symbolic choice for me as it marks the beginning of my voyage as an artist. Where this artistic journey will take me over the next 2-3 years I do not know but it will be transformative and historic. This project is unlike any epic project I've ever taken on. It has taken me months of contemplation, sketching from models, arranging compositions, consulting with Dante scholar, Professor Kleinhenz and having the guts to move forward, not knowing how this will all evolve. I appreciate all the support I've received the last few months, all the financial contributions from private collectors and the support I received from Jerry's Artarama. I could not have done this without you.
This past Thursday, November 3, 2016, I finally had the opportunity to meet with Professor Christopher Kleinhenz in person during a lecture he was giving in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Professor Kleinhenz and I have been talking via the phone and sharing information about the project since July 2016. This was the first time we met face to face and we were excited to talk in depth about the project before his lecture. Later that evening, I was able to attend his brilliant lecture, Poetry and the Visual Arts in the Medieval World: Dante's Divine Comedy. The timing could not have been better as I was already working on the composition for the first panel this weekend. Once again, I'm so grateful that Professor Kleinhenz will be working with me closely throughout the project to advise me on my compositions so that they stay true to the original intent of the poem written almost 700 years ago.
As many of you know, my Kickstarter campaign for my Inferno project has ended. Upon launching the campaign in mid August, I was immediately approached by several private collectors that wished to contribute to the project, though not publicly, on Kickstarter. It quickly became evident that Kickstarter wasn’t the best approach so I chose to just let it run its course. Thankfully, I have almost 60% of the project funded. It seems that once again, I’ve been surprised by the outpouring of encouragement and support from so many old and new collectors.