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!

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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

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lot's Family Flees the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

Lot's Family Flees the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah 22 x 28 inches, Acrylic on Illustration Board on Panel, 2013

I am embarking on a new series of paintings, tableaux inspired by stories and scenes in the Bible.  I am, in fact, doing my own translation of the Bible and have already published the first of a projected ten volumes.  Volume One of the Anderson Revisionist Bible is available at lulu and also at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.  It includes Genesis and Exodus with notes.

This scene suggested by the 19th Chapter of Genesis which tells the familiar story of Lot and his family fleeing the city of Sodom before it is destroyed by Jehovah.  My translation can be read on my blog here. I have incorporated my interpretation of what happened, that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by aerial military action, airships of some sort bombing the area with incendiaries.  (No other explanation makes senses.  A natural disaster, earthquake, volcano, meteor strike could not have produced the reported effects, total destruction by fire, but no shaking of the earth, no loud sounds, no craters, no lava flows.  If an omnipotent deity were involved, he could have started the fires spontaneously or would have simply uncreated the offending towns.  --- It seems extremely unlikely that the story was made up out of whole cloth.  It seems probable to me that the destruction really occurred at some ancient time and the biblical authors used it as morality tale to show that the lot of those who are wicked and disobedient to Jehovah is total destruction.  By the way, the nature of the wickedness is not specified in Genesis, although other books of the Bible make reference to it and mention lack of hospitality, indifference to the poor, and so forth.  Nowhere in the Bible is homosexuality named as the singular sin of Sodom.)

The attack began at dawn after Lot and his daughters reached the safe town of Zoar.  I have taken some liberties -- they are still on the trail.  Lot's wife, who would supposedly be turned into a pillar of salt, is shown lagging behind and viewing her hometown with horror.  I assume that Madame Lot, who, unlike her husband, was probably a native of Sodom, tried to go back home, was caught up in the incendiary attack, and was killed. The pillar of salt thing was probably a bit of whimsy added to the story later.  (There are a lot (pardon the pun) of salt formations in the area.)  Lot, with water skins strapped to his back, is carrying the family wealth in a jewel box.  Even though he was Abraham's nephew, I conclude he was fairly old since he had already done a lot (there we go again) before he settled in Sodom.   (Lot was supposedly a just and righteous man, but he hardly acted like it.  He volunteered to throw his virgin daughters to the mob to protect Jehovah's emissaries, who, it turned out, were more than able to take care of themselves.)  His eldest daughter, the future mother of Moab and the one who later gets the idea that since she and her sister can't find husbands living up in the hills they should get their father drunk and have sex with him, is on the right carrying a staff and a rolled-up rug with clothes and possessions inside.  I figure she was strong and determined and stoic.  Her younger sister, the future mother of Ammon, is on the left, carrying things in a wicker basket and a sheepskin knapsack.  Of less stern stuff, she is frightened and distraught.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More Clueless Gray Aliens

Several years ago I did a couple fairly large tableaux featuring Clueless Gray Aliens and thought I get back to them to see what they're up to.  The back story is this: a flying saucer crashes on earth leaving a group of aliens stranded here.  They have, however,  been trained to understand earth society and prepared, so they think, to live as human beings  Although they have superhuman intelligence and a high level of advanced cultural training, their attempts to acclimate themselves and to deal with life on earth do not come off without a few hitches.  

Clueless Gray Aliens Go Skiing  8 x 12 inches, Acrylic on Museum Board, 2114

Clueless Gray Aliens Have Car Trouble 8 x 12 inches,  Acrylic on Museum Board, 2114

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