Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Along the...

The second of this week's land/seascapes...

Monday, February 25, 2013


This week called for some serenity.  So I did a few land/sea-scapes.

Friday, February 22, 2013

"God's Not On Our Side Because He Hates Idiots Also..."

The final member of  Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Il buono, Il brutto, Il cattivo, 1966) cast, "Blonde" aka. the infamous Man With No Name (Though he's called "Joe" in Fistful by the coffin maker, and "Manco"("The Monk") by one of the lawmen in For a Few...), Clint Eastwood.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Even a Filthy Beggar Like that Has Got a Protecting Angel..."

Continuing in reverse order: Lee Van Cleef as "Angel Eyes"/Sentenza whose icy cool badness is, to me, the only thing  Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Il buono, Il brutto, Il cattivo, 1966) needed more of.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"One B@stard Goes In, and Another Comes Out!"

In keeping with the Western theme, I had nearly forgotten that I'd been commissioned to do a series based on Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Il buono, Il brutto, Il cattivo, 1966)  as a Chrismas gift.  We're going in reverse order, starting with Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez ("...also known as The Rat") played by all-time great Eli Wallach.

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Here We Go, Mama..."

Our final Once Upon a Time in the West gunfighter is the great Woody Strode. Strode's career in the limelight began as a world class college athlete in track and field and football at UCLA. He would go on to play some professional football before an injury would lead to a brief stint in professional wrestling.  Strode's early screen time as an extra soon turned to small roles before he landed two of his most memorable roles: Sergeant Rutledge in the John Ford Western of the same name, and as Draba the gladiator in Kubrick's Spartacus. But in Europe, Leone had given him his first close-ups on screen, and actively helped Strode build a very successful career in European films. On a trivia note, the Native American woman at the train station in the opening sequence with Strode was played by his wife, Hawaiian princess Luukialuana "Luana" Kalaeloa.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"...Looks like We're Shy One Horse."

This week's second facial landscape belongs to one of the Hollywood's most recognizable character actors, Jack Elam. Elam had a fifty year career in front of the camera, and is probably best known for his appearance in a wide variety of Western films and television shows. His trademark was a wonky left eye which he was blind in that was the result of a childhood fight. As Once Upon a Time in the West was the closest Leone ever came to a Hollywood western, it would make sense why he'd hire Elam, already a 20+ year acting veteran,  to play the leader of the men who meet Harmonica at the film's opening.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Waiting for a Man with a Harmonica...

One of Sergio Leone's trademarks was using faces as landscapes, and so this week, I decided to do some up-close portraits in that tradition using the three men from the opening to Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (C'era una volta il West, 1968).

First up was Canadian actor Al Mulock.  Mulock was used twice in the extreme close-up category by Leone. In the The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, 1966), Mulock's is the first face that swims into view against a deserted landscape.  Unfortunately, in Once Upon a Time, Mulock did not finish his part of the opening as he committed suicide before the shoot was over, and is covered by a double in many of the wide shots.

Friday, February 08, 2013

"Some Cupid Kills with Arrows, Some with Traps..."

My final Eros/Cupid of the week was a piece I was racing to get into a Valentine's themed show, but I just missed it. Anyhow, it was a little experiment in gouache.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

"Take Away Leisure, and Cupid's Bow is Broken..."

Not all cupids are alike.  Since the Hallmark-ization of Valentine's Day, we've come to think of cupid and cherubs as being pretty much indistinguishable, but that certainly hasn't always been the case. In the early Judaic tradition, cherubs were the fearsome four-winged guardians of the throne of God, and that's pretty much how they remained until the Renaissance.  Oh, the Renaissance, the whirlpool of art, blending the sacred and the profane. However, little, chubby winged babies weren't always cherubs either. If they were in a religious painting, they were cherubs. If they were in a mythological or scene from antiquity, they were called putti, which meant "little men" (putto is the singular). Cherubs were usually innocent and reverent, putti were often cheeky little imps. If it's got nekkid people in it, the winged babies are putti. As for Cupid himself, his image changed over time.  In antiquity, he started off as a slender youth, but over time became more and more the chubby baby. While he always had wings, the quiver and bow were later additions. In medieval times, he was sometimes depicted as blindfolded (ie. "love is blind")...and then the Renaissance...and then poof, modern day's lack of attachment to our iconographic history has rendered them one and the same.

Monday, February 04, 2013

"Cupid is a knavish lad, Thus to make poor females mad..."

As it's the month of February, I thought that I might do a tribute to Eros, more famously known as Cupid. Though the lesser god of love to his more famous mother, Aphrodite/Venus, Eros more thoroughly made it into the iconography of the popular consciousness. So it's a week of winged archers in honor of the approach of Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 01, 2013

"This Ale's For You!"

The final odd end from this week was a joke gift I did for a friend's birthday.  Last ar I did one of him in the Main Force Patrol uniform from Mad Max, and he had joked about doing one of him as Conan. So I combed through some old Marvel comics and came up with this quickie.