Thursday, February 10, 2011


We have a big red barn in our yard which I use as a studio and workplace.  As I worked on dioramas and paintings I realized that I had a great oportunity to recreated the Sistine Ceiling Frescos by Michelangelo. This photo is a long shot of a portion of the barn ceiling. Each of the paintings will be described as we go along.

The first one I have named "And then, He Created Speedo Briefs".
Michelangelo’s sense of humor often goes unnoticed. He was the master painter of the muscular male body; however, he always gave these robust fellows small infantile genitals. Was this an expression of modesty or some kind of joke? Whatever the answer is, when I painted The Creation of Adam I attempted to take his “joke” one step further. Also this may be the only recreation of this painting in which God is not wearing his pink outfit and we get to see God’s abs. Of course those pesky little cherubs are still riding around in God's Sky Wagon.

The next one is called "God Creates the Sun and the Moon".  Notice, he is now wearing his customary pink nighty.  On the right you can see David and Goliath which is shown in the next photo.

Everyone knows about David and his sling shot but we tend to forget that David had no qualms about beheading Goliath.

In the next photo we see Isaiah and next to him is a Lunette which shows three ancestors of Jesus. On each side of the Lunette Michelangelo painted his “Orange Male Nudes”. Why? We are not sure. Many nude males are painted all over the ceiling.

Here we see the Delphic Sibyl surrounded by cherubs and more“Orange Nudes”.

Next we are looking down the ceiling toward the "Day of Judgement" and we see more “Orange Nudes” and the Ancestors of Jesus. Some people have suggested that the bearded man shown in the middle of the Ancestors Painting might be me. Next in line is the Delphic Sibyl.

Before we get to the Day of Judgement lets take a look at the "Beheading of Holofernes"
This painting shows in gruesome detail the head of Holofernes being carried by Judith’s maid while the limbs of the decapitated body are threshing around in the next room.


Although my painting is fairly large (8 X 10 ft) it is not nearly large enough to include all of the bodies and interactions taking place in Michelangelo’s original fresco. My version uses sections of the original to make a painting which summarizes some of the action and intent. In the upper portion of the painting St. Bartholomew is holding a knife in one hand and his flayed skin in the other. Rather than paint St. Bartholomew’s face on the skin Michelangelo painted his own face, and I for the sake of consistency have done likewise.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I am trying to get my act together and organize my art in an orderly manner but in some cases this is impossible, so I am going to publish a few pieces of my work in this odd collection until I can make the appropriate adjustments.

So, I will start off with my interpretation of what Picasso would have expressed if he had watched Xena on television.  You may recognize my version is modified from Picasso's original "Woman in a Chair".  It is a small diorama (2 ft wide, 3.5 ft tall and 3 inches deep) which is made from the usual wood but is decorated with metal adornments.  And, by the way, it is missing from my collection so if you see it please report this art crime to me and we will apprehend the thief.

The next diorama is my recreation of Edward Hopper's painting entitled "Chop Suey".  My photo includes its supporting 2x4 carpenter horses and portions of other dioramas.  Judging by the hats worn by these two women I would say it was painted in the 1920s.

The next offering is not a diorama but instead painting that I did on a large sun screen (6 ft by 8 ft) of a Renaissance lady once attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci.  The title "La Belle Ferroniere" indicates that she wore a reddish-brown iron oxide stone (ferrous means iron) on her forehead as a part of her attire.  This was offen done to cover a smallpox scar and eventually became fashionable. You will notice that it does not appear in my painting.  Why?  Because I forgot to paint it, that's why.  Someday I hope to go down to the barn and add this to her forehead.



Monday, February 7, 2011



This is a great painting which displays Valazquez's ability to paint common people in their daily activities.  His treatment of textures and surfaces is amazing.  I have tried to duplicate this in my diorama made mostly of wood, except for his garment which is made of canvas cloth.  Notice in the background on the right one can imagine that I might have been there.  This is another big one which is 5 ft high, 4 ft wide and 1 ft deep.


Yes,  I known there is a chair is in front of the diorama but I was not able to move all of my stuff out of the way and this view is all I have at the moment.  I certainly couldn't move the diorama because it weights a ton and is 5 ft wide, 4 ft tall and 1 ft deep.

This painting is also known as "The Fable o Arachne".  Arachne was a young woman (shown in the foreground on the right wearing white blouse) of great skill at weaving tapestries. This ability was so great that it outshown the goddess of weaving, Minerva who is disguised as an older woman sitting at the spinning wheel (this part of the fable is shown in the foregound). Minerva challenges Arachne to weave a tapestry glorifing the god Jupiter. When they are finished Arachne’s great talent is obvious and Minerva is enraged. After tearing Arachne’s cloth to pieces Minerva chasts off her disguise and reveals herself in helmet and armour. This part of the fable is seen on a stage in the background which shows Minerva stricking Arachne with a shuttle on the forehead. Subsequently Minerva transforms Arachne into a spider who is compelled to make cobwebs for the rest of her life.  Seems strange that Minerva has a grey beard?  Also, the black cat resting on the floor in the foreground is our great cat, bagel, who was always with me when I worked on the dioramas.


Las Meninas if one of the greatest paintings of all times.  It shows Velazquez, on the left, in the process of painting the royal couple who can be seen as a reflection in the mirror on the back wall.  In his studio the heiress to the throne of Spain, Infanta Margarita, is shown in the center.  Attending her is the maid of honor who is kneeling and handing her a small jug of water.  Standing to the right of Margarita is another maid of honor and a female dwarf.  Lying on the floor is a large court dog, probably a mastiff.  In the dark background on the right is a guard or escort to the ladies and lady in waiting.  In the middle of the painting the palace marshal is ascending steps which lead to a brightly lit adjoining room.  Looks like he has a grey beard?

My diorama does not do the great painting justice and my photo certainly falls short.  Someday I hope to replace it with a better one.



This is a big and heavy diorama (6 ft high, 3.5 ft wide and 1 ft deep) which reflects one of its names, Alexander the Great.  It is made entirely of wood except for the cape which is a canvas like cloth which I painted.


Jan Six was a friend of Rembrandt and a collector of his work.  He was a well known writer and burgomaster of Amsterdam.

The size of this diorama reflects his importance (7.5 ft, 4 ft wide and 1 ft deep).  Once again, everything is made of wood except the cape which is canvas like painted cloth.


Also called "The Sampling Officals of the Cloth-Makers Guild at Amsterdam" is one of the artist best know paintings (Dutch Master's Cigars made sure of that).

This one is made of wood, plaster and painted cloth and is one of the smaller ones (4 ft wide, 3 ft tall and 1 ft deep).


This guy is probably the medieval Dutch hero, Count Floris V of Holland.  He was lured to his death by his former associates on the promise of a hunting expedition

Sunday, February 6, 2011


My dioramic interpretation of The Girl at the Bar at the Follies is painted in the same impossible perspective as in Manet’s original.

Although the schewed perspective of the original painting by Manet made it possible to see the reflection of the man standing in front of the bar, I wanted to examine what this scene would look like if done in the proper perspective.

In order to do this I placed myself in the painting standing at the bar and the scene is being viewed by an observer and painter, me.

Note, this is a flat painting not a diorama; however, it has a strong three dimensional effect.


At the Rat Mort

By Toulouse Lautrec
I am starting this blog with one of my favorite paintings by Lautrec which shows a garish young lady who is obviously having a good time at a expensive bar in Paris.
I believe that may be me next to her.  This is one of the smaller size dioramas with dimensions of 2 ft wide, 3ft high and 3 inches deep.

Lautrec painting a lot of great stuff and I like the all; however, I only converted some of them to dioramas.  I have selected a few of them for this blog.

The next diorama is shown at a different angle with some of the other work in our barn.  The large lady is one of Da Vinci's paintings which I painted on a shade screen (6 X 8 ft).  She will be discussed in  a later blog.

 The next Lautrec is called "At the Moulin Rouge"  shows several of Lautrec's acquaintances and Toulouse himself walking with his friend Dr. de Celelyran.  The doctor is the tall man in the glare of the mirror and little Toulouse is wearing a bowler hat and is difficult to see because of the dark clothing and the poor photography (mine).

This diorama is small but is relatively deep (2 ft wide, 2.5 ft high and 1 ft deep).


The next one is called "The Moorish Dance" which shows one of Lautrec's favorite people by the name of La Goulue.  The onlookers in the foreground are Oscar Wilde in the top hat, entertainer Jane Avril and the artist himself in the bowler hat.  No, I am not the guy with the long skinny white beard and bright yellow-white coat.  He is La Goulue's favorite dancing partner whose name I can't remember right now.  If anyone out there remembers his name, please advise.


This photo shows two dioramas I made of the same painting which shows his favorite dancer entering the Moulin Rouge with two "friends".  The one on the left looks like a body guard and the other a girl friend.

The diorama on the right has a slightly different backgound than the one on the left.  The man close to the mirror in the right one could be me.  I am pretty sure I was there that night.


Messalina was an opera star who fasinated the artist and he painted the leading lady performing.  It is one of his last paintings and is generally considered to be an excellent example of his mastery of loose sketchy application of bold colors.  (size: 3 ft wide, 3 ft high and 8 inches deep)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011



This is a large heavy diorama (5 ft wide, 4 ft high and 1 ft deep) and is one of Rembrandt’s most famous paintings and represents a group of civic guard of musketeers led by Frans Banning Cocq.  These civic guard groups were formed to protect cities in Holland from the Spanish. 

 I have substituted our dog, Jack, for the poor dog painted in the original.  I am also in the diorama but only partially visible behind the arm of the man in black on the right side of the diorama.

I took this photo at this angle so the depth of the diorama and the heavy lumber needed to support it could be seen.  



People don't usually paint on sun screens made of plastic "bamboo" but I gave it a try.  The screen is 6X8 ft and is difficult to get a good non-glare photo, especially for a poor photographer like me.  But, here it is.

BY REMBRANDDT (6 ft wide, 4 ft high and 1ft deep)

Claudius Civilis was the leader of the Batavians who were the original inhabitants of Holland. This painting shows Batavian chiefs swearing an oath to fight for their liberty against the Romans.  My favorite thing about Claudius is his taste in hats.

This is another heavy one, notice the 2x4 carpenter's horses which support it.

Someone who sorta looks like me was at the table that night as can be seen from this angle:

My head is a little large and I seem to be very short but still it could have been me.

The Conspiricy Painting is a good example of chiaroscuro style of painting which is characteized by strong contrasts betwen light and dark.  One of the most striking example of the style of painting is shown in Rembrandt's painting, Peter's Denial show next.

Peter's Denial is a smaller diarama (Size: 2.5 ft wide, 3.5 ft high and 10 in deep) but makes a strong statement.