Sorry it has been a few weeks since I posted progress on this panel. I’ve had two very large commissions going at the same time so my progress has slowed a bit. The good news is that I am grateful to have an apprentice working with me on this project and the other commission work so we are hoping to see this panel finished in the next week. Here is one of the figures that is almost complete. Stay tuned for the final shots.
In another day of work I should have the remaining rocks and background elements painted and I can focus on the figures. I have been working pretty consistently on this panel since Christmas. I think that in another week I may be able to finish it so I can get started on the next panel. Below is a shot of my studio as of January 5, 2019.
It has been a few weeks since I’ve had the chance to work on Canto 7: The Avaricious and the Prodigal. Over the Christmas season I completed over 16 commissions for the holidays. Now that Christmas is here I’m diving back in with the hopes of completing this painting by 2019. I had hoped to finish 10 paintings this year but since I had to take on so many commissions to keep this project and my household going I’m only finishing 2018 with 4. I will, once again, dive back in this year with the hopes of finishing 12 paintings in 2019. Though I have some very large commission pieces in the early part of 2019 I will be working with an apprentice this winter so I am hopeful I can pick up the pace. Here are some photos from December 25 and 26th.
Day one of my new Dante's Inferno panel - Canto 7, 4th Circle: The Avaricious and Prodigal, 48 x 60" oil on AlumaComp. Work in progress
Check out my behind the scenes painting Canto 7: Plutus
Here is a detail shot of “Plutus” from my new panel for Canto 7. This figure was a real pleasure to paint. I loved painting all of the intricate hairs and the eyes on this model. I am so lucky to have found someone to pose for this character. He was fantastic and that makes all the difference in the end. I hope you enjoy this panel as much as I do. I’m working on the next panel for Canto 9 and I should have a composition finished in the next few days.
After a few weeks of finishing commissions, writing a review of materials for Jerry’s Artarama and conducting a few week-long painting workshops I’m back to working on Canto 7. I spent the last week working on finishing all of the surrounding rock formations on the panel. The background took about three days to finish and the foreground rocks were finished in about three days as well. I am excited to getting back to painting the remaining characters in the painting. Last night I roughed in the face of Virgil and I will be doing the same for Dante tomorrow. The only remaining items to work on will be the robes for both characters and the hand and arms of Plutus. Fortunately the face of Plutus is finished so the hardest work has already been completed. I’m really hoping to finish the painting by the middle of next week. Wish me luck!
Even though this painting isn't technically part of the Dante's Inferno series I wanted to make everyone aware of this beautiful new addition to my inventory. Sales of all my work help me to fund this project which is being funded entirely by the sales of my paintings and the generous support of some of the patrons and sponsors which have helped me get this series started. I still need your support to help me finish all of the work I need to do the next three years so if you'd like to help me bring this project to life you can visit my SUPPORT THE PROJECT page or visit my store to purchase a print, a book or an original piece of art just like this painting. Thank you so much!
Check out this 5 minute video painting the hair of Plutus from Canto 7. I worked for six hours this past Thursday on the beard and hair of this figure and I'm happy to be moving onto the rest of the painting. Things are progressing really well and at a fast pace. I roughed in the rest of the background with some burnt umber. I am planning to do another pass on the rocks in the background this weekend. If all works well I should be finished with this inferno painting by mid August!
It took me two sittings to get the composition together but it is now ready to be painted. I'm really excited to paint the face of Plutus so I am probably going to attack that area of the painting first. Stay tuned for more!
Just hours after finishing Panel 6: Canto V: King Minos, Judge of the Damned, my next AlumaComp panel is primed, sanded and ready to paint Plutus! I will be starting this evening!
Here is a detail of the imposing figure of King Minos. This was a fantastic figure to paint and it was my desire to have him at the focal point of the composition. You can see in the distance the mass of condemned souls being ushered behind him to be judged by a group of demons into the second circle of hell. The mass will culminate in a line in front of Minos. As a viewer, you have the feeling of being both in the position of Dante and Virgil and the souls in line waiting their turn. The composition also utilizes a "circle-like" formation of that line of souls emphasizing the second circle of hell and the circular, serpentine nature of the tail of King Minos which will determine the fate of each soul.
Panel 6, Canto 5: King Minos, Judge of the Damned, oil on AlumaComp, 48 x 60" is finished! I will be posting more detail photos tomorrow!
Inferno: Canto V
Thus I descended out of the first circle
Down to the second, that less space begirds,
And so much greater dole, that goads to wailing.
There standeth Minos horribly, and snarls;
Examines the transgressions at the entrance;
Judges, and sends according as he girds him.
I say, that when the spirit evil-born
Cometh before him, wholly it confesses;
And this discriminator of transgressions
Seeth what place in Hell is meet for it;
Girds himself with his tail as many times
As grades he wishes it should be thrust down.
Always before him many of them stand;
They go by turns each one unto the judgment;
They speak, and hear, and then are downward hurled.
"O thou, that to this dolorous hostelry
Comest," said Minos to me, when he saw me,
Leaving the practice of so great an office,
"Look how thou enterest, and in whom thou trustest;
Let not the portal's amplitude deceive thee."
And unto him my Guide: "Why criest thou too?
Do not impede his journey fate-ordained;
It is so willed there where is power to do
That which is willed; and ask no further question."
I am within days of finishing panel 6, Canto 5: Minos, Judge of the Damned. I've finished the background, the demon and the soul being dragged up the stairs as well as the body of Minos. The serpent tail of Minos took an especially long time to make sure the pattern of the snake and the highlights were all attended to painting-wise. It was a lot of fun. All I need to do yet is the figures of Dante and Virgil and the chair below Minos. This is going to be a really dramatic painting and I can't wait to finish it. One final element I have to add yet is going to be a steady flow of souls being ushered down into hell by demons in the background on the left and right of Minos way in the distance. I hope this painting of King Minos will be one of the best representations of him in the Inferno.
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.
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.