Triptych of the Muse: 

the Beautiful, Terrible, Fire in the Head

3 panels: 48” high x 36” wide each, acrylic on canvas, 2016. 

This left-hand panel of the triptych represents our subconscious, feminine, dark, organic, symbolic, mysterious nature as we express ourselves through the arts.
Center Panel: “The Muse” is an ancient Greek Goddess, (or sometimes confusingly, a group of 3, 9 or 12 Goddesses) dating back at least since 800 BCE, credited as patroness(es) of various arts: poetry, history, comedy, tragedy, singing, dance, and most especially, of music. Basically, she has been the patron of artists, actors and musicians down through the ages ever since. So many writers and poets from Shakespeare, to Byron to Neil Gaiman have invoked the Muse down through the centuries. And it occurred to me that if the Muse had a halo (like the Virgin Mary in a traditional icon of Eastern Orthodoxy), then hers would be comprised of words and poems.
As I tried to pull together symbols and images for this portrait, I kept returning to a few key ideas: how the arts communicate NOT through the usual pagan elements of earth, air, fire and water- but our human senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Therefore the Muse is at her heart a very SENSUAL Goddess, and furthermore— the most EMOTIONAL of Gods. For what is art worth if it does not stir the emotions? And it is the Muse who stirs and sends these passions to the artist to get the process started.I mixed this with a listing of some modern, 21st century art forms. And then I gave her some art tools: paint-brushes, pens, pencils, some film, a sculpting tool for clay, and a USB cable to hold aloft - much like the statue of liberty holds aloft the torch of freedom.
The right-hand panel of the triptych represents our rational, masculine, solar, technological, rational natures that humans struggle to control and express through the arts.
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