Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Unconquerable Sun

Sol Invictus is an ancient Roman god whose name means The Unconquerable Sun. Actually, he may as well be called Helios, the Greek Titan of the Sun, but I’ve already given that name to another post. Ancient Egyptian iconography sometimes depicted the Sun god as a child, and I’ve followed that tradition as well by portraying him as a youthful Sun.

This piece is done from imagination in watercolor, ink and gouache on tinted paper. The original dimensions are 12 by 16 inches, or about 30 by 40 centimeters.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tadzio In His Sailor Suit

I did this drawing of Bjorn Andresen as part of a series back in the day. The medium and dimensions are the same as before: Prismacolor on Strathmore drawing paper (I like the good stuff), ll by 14 inches, or about 27.5 by 35 centimeters.

There's one more drawing of this quality in this series, where he's wearing his turn-of-the-century form-fitting swimsuit. I'll try to find that one, though it may take a while.

By the way, in a few weeks I plan to begin an onslaught of hyping my blogs - Twitter, Facebook, that sort of thing. If anyone has any tips or pointers about that, it'd be really handy. Or even just letting me know you're following; it can get lonely out here in blogland.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Taylor Hanson

I drew this portrait of Taylor Hanson from a photo taken around 2000. It's in charcoal and pastel on a heavy Fabriano paper (which is *wonderful* stuff - the best drawing paper I've ever found). The original dimensions are around 14 by 20 inches (roughly 35 by 50 centimeters).

I find that of all human subjects I most enjoy drawing and painting images of young performing artists. They seem to project the most beauty and spirit, which I suppose is by the nature of their occupation.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spiral Tower

Spirals are a standard feature of Cytheran architecture and design. The capital, Spiral City, is structurally similar to this castle: a complex of densely-packed dwellings built around a winding cobblestone causeway that climbs to the crowning citadel. The sailing ship in the background is also typically Cytheran: a slender lateen-rigged wooden vessel.

This drawing is in colored pencil on tinted matte board. The dimensions of the original are 14 by 20 inches (roughly 35 by 50 centimeters).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Il Moro

This youth is Pancrazio Bucini, known as Il Moro (the Moor), of Taormina, Sicily. This and many other photos of Bucini were made by his employer, Wilhelm von Gloeden, a German baron who lived in Taormina from the late 1870s until well into the 20th century. Von Gloeden was active as a photographer for several decades, attaining considerable fame. I made this drawing from a von Gloeden photo dating from the early period of von Gloeden's life in Taormina, during the last quarter of the 19th century.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bjorn Andresen

Yep, it's him: Swedish actor Bjorn Andresen in his role as Tadzio, from Luchino Visconti's 1971 film "Death in Venice." This drawing is an oldie; I did it in my early twenties, using as my model one of several glossy 8 by 10 movie stills that I bought from the Limelight bookstore in San Francisco. It's drawn with Prismacolor pencils on Strathmore vellum drawing paper; the dimensions of the original are 11 by 14 inches (about 27.5 by 35 centimeters). I did a few drawings of this type back then, which I'll post betimes as the humor takes me.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Dome of Light: Floor Plan

This is my design for the floor of the Dome. The preferred material is flagstones of cast cement. The underlying geometry is triangulated, with circular curvature based on the edge-length of the relevant triangles, and other related radius lengths. A traditional term for this type of layout is “ad triangulum,” in contrast to “ad quadratum” – the latter meaning a rectangular or foursquare layout; but really I was thinking of Buckminster Fuller and his omni-triangulated designs. It’s as though we’ve laid out the floor on top of his octet truss, a structure based on alternating octahedrons and tetrahedrons and producing a triangulated surface pattern.

The glyphs of the seven traditional planets – those visible to the naked eye – are distributed around the center, with the Sun located at the very center. Around this I’ve placed a compass rose, indicating the cardinal points,  with a sunburst amid them. In the Hermetic philosophy, the square created by their points represents the Earth.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Sun According to Giordano Bruno

This image is designed to be incorporated into the Dome of Light. The level of the horizon
matches the equator generated on the circular panels of the Dome, and the underlying perspective system which governs the composition of the image also matches that geometry. The ratio between the distance from horizon to top, on the one hand, and from horizon to the bottom of the image, on the other, is equal to the square root of five: 1/2.236068. I didn't plan it this way, but I've found that when you're dealing in a rigorous way with geodesics, and with the geometry of the regular solids that underlies them, such "coincidences" crop up on a regular basis.

The great Hermetic philosopher and occultist Giordano Bruno wrote a series of descriptions of allegorical figures representing the planets. Taking this as my inspiration, I've done a group of watercolors representing these allegorical figures, and this is one of several such images depicting the Sun.

Bruno was ultimately burned at the stake for his ideas. Hardcore materialists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are fond of claiming that Bruno was killed for his scientific ideas, such as his suggestion that the stars are suns, and that many of these have planets orbiting them that support life, and other civilizations. But my understanding is that what *really* upset the Inquisitors was his insistence that the Sun is a god. Once they heard that, his fate was sealed. Not that I claim to have read the minutes of his trial.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Dome of Light: Doors

This is my design for the doors of the Dome of Light, as I like to call it. It has the potential to be a temple, a dwelling, a teahouse, or some combination of all three. This isn't the only possible design for the doors, of course; I'll post one or two more later on when I can find and photograph the relevant drawings. This piece is executed in watercolor. I envisage the completed doors as a matching pair of relief sculptures, hinged so that they open inwards.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Geodesics: the Dome of Light

I've been interested in geodesics since I was a teenager. The triangulated geometry of these structures has always exerted a strong fascination upon me. I've often immersed myself in several of the many books by Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome, and once met him in San Francisco a few months before his death in 1983.

This design is my own variation on one of Bucky's designs, which he called the Fly's Eye dome. In his design a circular panel occupies each of the faces of a classis pent-hex geodesic dome, which resembles a soccer ball. The result is spheroid with 32 circular panels joined by triangular components having negative saddle curvature. Structurally it's very strong, as is normally the case with well-built geodesics.

My dome is a simplification of that design. Bucky was working with a truncated icosahedron,  which is what produces the soccer ball geometry. Instead of this I've taken a dodecahedron, a regular figure with 12 pentagonal faces, and placed a circular panel in each of those faces. The result is a spheroid with 12 circular faces, as seen above. In the second drawing, the figure is modified so that it rests upon a floor, leaving nine circular panels - or eight, if you allow one opening for a doorway, as I've done here.

This design is functionally related to my long-term interest in curvilinear perspective. I came up with it as a way of supporting  an immersive perspective matrix. I'll try to elucidate this idea in future posts. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Love Warrior

This youth is the protagonist of my graphic novel, whose working title is The Love Warrior. His name is Torquil. I've had this GN in the planning for some years, and have lately decided to make it an illustrated novel rather than a comic book. This will call for fewer images, but of higher quality than the usual GN format: ones like this highly rendered illustration rather than more simply executed comics panels.

The Love Warrior is an adventure fantasy, my favorite form of literature. It's the opening story in a longer cycle, collectively entitled Tales of Cythera: hence the name of this blog.

Torquil is bisexual, hot tempered but with a good heart. He has a boyfriend and a girlfriend; the truth is he's a horny slut and likes to fool around. He's a terrific warrior and the bravest of the brave. His steed is a gryphon, whom we see here. His homeland, Cythera, is descended culturally from ancient Greco-Roman pagan civilization, the ancient Celts, and one or two other influences.

Currently I've got a completed script which I'm now novelizing. This is a long-term project that I mean to keep at for some time to come.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

El Carpeta

Earlier this year I came upon a video of this young flamenco dancer performing at a venue in Madrid. I thought it might be entertaining, so I watched. I got far more than I bargained for. I was completely bowled over by his performance, and by the power and beauty of flamenco. Now I'm a fan. In fact I've become rather obsessed with the topic.

This drawing is based on a photo associated with the same video. I drew it in charcoal and pastel. The dimensions of the original are 12 by 16 inches (about 30 by 40 centimeters). I'm thinking of doing more work in the same vein, and in other mediums as well.

His name is Manuel Fernandez Montoya. El Carpeta is his professional name. He's one of three brothers, all great dancers in a family dedicated to flamenco. If you want to see a stunning video, do a YouTube search for "El Carpeta Casa Patas 59," or other videos with his name.