Thursday, October 13, 2016

Alien Zoo


Alien Zoo 20 x 24 Inches, Acrylic on Illustration Board on Panel, 2016

I have a considerable body of work featuring the familiar gray aliens, but in this painting I have created a new race of aliens.  These are the inhabitants of the earth-like planet of Azura.  The Azurites are fairly human-like, but with somewhat different noses, no eyebrows, hair that grows out to the side of their head, black eyes, and, most distinctively, blue complexions.  The Azurites are devoted to studying the life forms throughout the galaxy and have zoos to house "alien" specimens.  Depicted is the exhibit of earth creatures, a family of homo sapiens.  The family, collected from earth, were not too unhappy to leave their planet, are quite content in their compound, and do not miss the outside world provided that they have access to all the devices, TVs, cellphones, tablets they are accustomed to and are given plenty of junk food to eat.  The Azurites look in upon them with curiosity, disapproval, and amusement. 

More of my work can be seen on my website www.SWA-art.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spacescapes

At a very early age I became interested in space, space travel, flying saucers, and so forth, initially inspired, I imagine, by my childhood affection for a horrendously bad TV show "Flash Gordon," which looked like it was made in someone's basement, a basement in Germany actually, using actors dragged in off the street.  (I was too young for "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger," a current favorite of mine that was really good early TV.)  I  have found more recent inspiration in other space operas that I like: those American rocket-to-Mars flicks from the '50s, Italian space movies from the mid '60's, Space:1999, the first season, Buck Rogers, also the first season, and the obscure but delightful Space Maidens. -- sorry not a Trekkie or a Star Wars fan.) 

As an artist I have done from time to time some space-themed paintings.  Lately I have embarked on a series of spacescapes, scenes of outer space with planets and moons, comets and spaceships and also landscapes of alien planets.  They are totally out of the imagination, which I love, and can be executed without a great expenditure of time.  Here are the ones I've done so far.







Crash on a Volcanic Planet, Meteor Strike, Planet of the Mushrooms, Rising of a Moon 16 x 20 inches, acrylic on illustration board on panel, 2015

Saucer Convoy, Zapping an Asteroid  11 x 14 inches, acrylic on illustration board on panel, 2015

For more of my work see my website at www.swa-art.com

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Paintings of Jesus



Raising of Lazarus 18 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Illustration Board on Panel, 2015

Jesus Walks on Water 18 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Illustration Board on Panel, 2015

While I have been translating the Old Testament (and have published volume one of The Anderson Revisionist Bible which includes Genesis and Exodus), I have also been working on the New Testament as well (and have published The Gospel of John).   Of course this has inspired me to do some Jesus pictures as well as Moses pictures.  The first two of these are shown above.

In Raising of Lazarus we have Jesus approaching the tomb of Lazarus and calling him from the grave, after the stone has been rolled away from the cave/tomb.  Lazarus staggers to his feet, still wrapped up in linen grave clothes.  At Jesus' side are Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha.  The many mourners who are witnessing the event are in the the background, but not painted for sake of keeping the composition simple and preserving the dramatic impact.  Most paintings depicting of this incident do not conform at all to the sole and somewhat spare account of this miraculous event that is related in the Gospel of John.  I have tried to be as faithful as I could to John.  We know nothing of Jesus' appearance save that he looked and dressed as an ordinary person who did not stand out in a crowd.  As a first century Galilean and Judaic rabbi, he would have had a simple beard and hair that might be a little longish by modern standards, but most definitely not shoulder lengthened.  It's a fair bet he had brown eyes and black or dark brown hair.

In Jesus Walks on Water some of the apostles are crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat at night, during a storm when they see Jesus walking on the water.  I assume Jesus would have taken off his sandals when he made his watery trek.  A stiff breeze is blowing his robe.  Simon Peter is the middle figure in the boat.  In the Gospels of Mark and John the apostles see Jesus walking on water and bring him on board the boat.  Jesus calms their fears and the boat safely reaches the shore.  In Matthew, written after Mark, Peter walks on water as well, until he loses faith, sinks, and must be saved by Jesus.  (This seems like an embellishment of the story intended to give it a moral.)  The boat painted is intended to be similar to a 1st-century vessel recently unearthed in the Sea of Galilee and named the "Jesus Boat." I tried to convey the appearance of rain, but not the sense of darkness, which would obscure the figures too much and make the scene too hard to read. 

More of work can be seen on my website www.artmajeur.com/stephander

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey 24 x 20 inches, Acrylic, 2015

My latest historical portrait is of the ill-fated but fascinating Lady Jane Grey, who, during nine days in July of 1553, was Queen of England.  She was the granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister and when Henry VIII's fifteen-year-old son Edward was dying, he appointed her his successor (passing over his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth and Jane's mother).  This was probably at the connivance of John Dudley, the Earl of Warwick, who ruled England during the last part of young Edward's reign and had married his son Guildford Dudley to Lady Jane Grey.  Even at age sixteen, Jane, very strictly brought up,  had gained a reputation as a scholar, knowing not only Latin and Greek, but Italian and Hebrew.  While she was undoubtedly the tool of others, the fact that she refused to allow her husband to call himself King suggests that she had a mind of her own.  Her reign, though promising, was very brief.  The ruling council that had endorsed her quickly changed its mind and backed Mary who was proclaimed queen and consolidated her power within days.  Lady Jane Grey and those who had supported her were imprisoned and later executed.  The Catholic Mary, who is infamous as "Bloody Mary," was, in fact, willing to allow her cousin Jane to live, but felt compelled to seek her death when a rebellion was hatched in her name.  Poor Jane was barely seventeen when she faced the headsman's axe, which she did with considerable aplomb.  Jane's brother-in-law Robert Dudley would achieve prominence as a favorite of Queen Elizabeth and her younger sister Catherine would be regarded for a time as Elizabeth's heir.   

No definite portrait of her exists, although there is a painting or two and a miniature that some experts believe may be of her.  Even physical descriptions of her are of uncertain authenticity.  I have referenced one of the probable portraits, but have used my imagine in depicting her.   Her right hand is upon a volume of Plato and her left tentatively reaching for the royal orb.  Her clothes are shown as too large and ill-fitting, as was the role history chose for her.  In the background is the Tower of London.

Lady Jane Grey was the grand niece of my 11th great-grandmother Lady Cecil Grey, who also married a Dudley, the 3rd Baron, (whose debts allowed his cousin, the Earl of Warwick, to appropriate Dudley Castle and render the family homeless). In other words, she was a second cousin of Captain Roger Dudley, who was the father of my 8th great-grandfather, Thomas Dudley, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

You can see more of my work on my Facebook page and on my website

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Joan of Arc

As a fan of Joan of Arc and Joan of Arc movies, I have painted her many times, although the first was not done until 2000, a sepia-tone portrait of Rene Marie Falconetti from the silent masterpiece La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc directed in France by the great Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer in 1928.  I've seen the film 70 times!  I thought I'd try redoing that portrait, making it wide instead of tall in order to put in some background and context.  Below are images of the two pictures.  Also, I have uploaded images of a very ambitious hinged triptych I did of Joan of Arc (Jehanne, to be accurate) in 2002.  She is portrayed in three aspects of her persona.  The frame, which I made myself, was a huge project in itself.  And, in 2005, I did a portrait of Leelee Sobieski from the more recent film about Joan of Arc.  I'm afraid I stole the composition from the DVD cover, but it turned out very well, I think.  Perhaps I will eventually get around to doing Ingrid Bergman and Jean Seberg.

Falconetti from La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, monochromatic acrylic, 12 x 16 inches, 2015
Falconetti as Joan of Arc, monochromatic gouache, 16 x 12 inches, 2000
Jehanne la Pucelle Triptych, acrylic, 2002:
Jehanne the Visionary, 32 x 16 inches
Jeanne the Warrior, 32 x 36 inches
Jehanne the Martyr, 32 x 15 inches
Leelee Sobieski as Joan of Arc, acrylic, 24 x 20 inches, 2005

You can see more of my work at www.artmajeur.com/stephander/




Friday, November 14, 2014

The Temptation of Eve





Eve and the Serpent 28 x 24 inches, tempera on shade cloth on hardboard, 1994

Garden of Eden 1 23 x 28 gouache on hardboard, 1995

Garden of Eden 2 (sepia) 16 x 24 inches, monochromatic gouache on hardboard, 1995

Eve and the Serpent 2 18 x 24 inches, acrylic on museum board on panel, 2009

The Temptation of Eve 18 x 24, acrylic on illustration board on panel, 2014




Eve, the serpent, and the apple is the first and one of the best stories in the Bible.  I have been inspired by it many times and have interpreted it variously.  My most recent painting The Temptation of Eve departs from the traditional imagery.  I have transformed the tempting snake into a reptilian humanoid.  This gives the story more credibility and makes it possibly something more than a fairy tale.  The snake is intelligent, clever even, and it talks to Eve, apparently man-to-man.  This means that the snake is not really a snake as we know it, but a reptile with human-like qualities.  There are many ancient myths concerning reptilian beings, many of them approaching human form.  They are always intelligent, sometimes bringers of wisdom and enlightenment, sometimes more sinister, even inimical to man.  Moreover, intriguingly, there have been many recent sightings of humanoid extraterrestrials who manifest a decidedly reptilian appearance.  So perhaps the reptilian depicted here has a resemblance to something real.  If the story in Genesis is a memory of a genetic experiment and Jehovah was an extraterrestrial human, a scientist rather than a god, who created modern man (in his own image and genetically compatible with himself), then the snake, the reptilian might have been a member of a different race of extraterrestrials.  And I guess the reptilian royally messed up Jehovah's experiment!

You can see more of work at www.artmajeur.com/stephander

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Moses Comes Down From the Mountain

Moses Comes Down From the Mountain  24 x 36 inches, Acrylic on Illustration Board on Panel, 2014

Inspired by my translation of the Bible (the first volume of the Anderson Revisionist Bible featuring Genesis and Exodus was published earlier in the year), I have been at work on tableaux from the Old Testament.  Moses, of course, commands major attention.  His dramatic return from the holy mountain with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments is an irresistible idea, although the composition was very difficult.  I decided to present a foreground with Moses carrying the tablet and his protege, Joshua, who is calling his attention to the merrymaking in camp and the Golden Calf idol his people are worshiping.  Aaron, Moses' brother who crafted the Golden Calf is the larger figure to the right.  I chose to depict the Israelites with representative figures rather than with a crowd.  --- I'm pretty sure I will another scene with the Golden Calf in the foreground, in order to capture the other side of the story.

Although the biblical text claims that Moses was 80 years old when he returned to Egypt from Midian, that seems to be merely an adjustment to make him the desired 120 years when he died.  Since he still had small children with him when he returned, he must have been a fairly young man.  He is characterized as an inexperienced and sometimes clueless leader, a man of passion and anger, more callow than imbued with the wisdom of age.  Consequently, I have painted him as a man approaching middle age with a beard just beginning to gray.  The tablets would have been rectangular, definitely not rounded on the top and since they were stone, they couldn't have been too large or Moses wouldn't have been able to carry them.  There is some tradition that they might have been made of the blue stone that Jehovah's throne was composed of.  Older Bibles refer to the stone as sapphire, but sapphires were unknown at that time, so it was probably lapis lazuli, which was used extensively in ancient Egypt.  If they were to be readable to the men of the time, the writing on them could only have been Egyptian hieroglyphics, perhaps hieratic script in the Sinaitic dialect.  (No matter how recent the Exodus is dated, it is long before the invention of alphabets or the Hebrew language.)

One is referred to my translation of Exodus which is online at www.newoldtestament.blogspot.com

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