Archive for August 12th, 2010

A few weeks back,  I wrote a post about a commission I was working on that was based on the Greek myth of Baucis and Philemon.  It was an interesting request and I hoped to be able to deliver a painting that captured somewhat the spirit of the tale of the humble couple who the gods ultimately favored with eternal lives together in the form of  a tree.  The painting shown here is the final product of the request.

My original conception of the painting was closer in detail to the myth with the two trees, sprouting from one trunk,  being located on a wide barren plain.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would be a cooler painting in feel than I think was requested.  I wanted to purvey more warmth, a sort of comfortable affection between the elements in the painting.  So I placed the tree on colorful rolls of land with a road that runs by.  I left out all other trees and vegetation, near and far, so that the tree and its relationship to the moon were the central focus.

This tree is very unique in my body of work.  Typically, when I have trees with separate trunks that intertwine together,  the crown of foliage  they form together becomes one solid unit of color, as though they had merged into one entity.  This piece was different.  The two trees were different but stemmed from the same trunk.  I chose to give their crowns separate colors to highlight the fact that, while they appeared to be one, they are two individual trees.   

For me, the moon here represents the watchful eye of the gods in the myth  (even though Zeus was not a lunar deity) and the horizon set by the water below represenst a feeling of eternity, of transcendent time.  The road leading to them represents the couple’s lives on Earth before they became part of eternity.

So, it may not be a literal translation of the myth, as many earlier classic artists have depicted, I think it carries the spirit of the story and the unity the couple feels together.  For me, it works…

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