The Medusa Pictures
The Medusa pictures that I've completed have grown to such a number that I feel my favourite Ancient Greek femme fatale deserves a gallery all of her own.
The paintings (above) are all the pictures of Medusa that I've completed to date, in reverse chronological order - i.e. newest first. Click the thumbnails to see each one in detail, and you will also find a few words on each image there, but as she's such a fascinating subject I thought I would sum up below some of my thoughts on the Medusa who has grown out of my paintings.
The interesting thing is how far she has developed as I've gone along. The first picture of Medusa that I painted - way back in about 2001 - she was feeling rather sorry for herself, alone on the sofa, next to two glasses of wine (one empty, drunk by her, one still full, awaiting a guest), and a couple of empty bottles. From the start I had the idea that Medusa was not actually bad-looking (as long as one has no aversion to snakes), but the poor lady was lonely and simply couldn't get a man (or anyone else, come to that) as no-matter whom she invited round they turned instantly to stone. Hence the un-drunk glass of wind in not only this picture of Medusa, but also in Medusa in Modesty as well - a much later picture, where I actually painted in some of the 'petrified' visitors in the background, who were originally meant to make an appearance in the first painting and never did.
So in the first picture Medusa sits sadly with a mirror, wondering if she's all that ugly, but I wasn't totally happy with her in that painting and I tackled her again.
In the next two paintings Medusa is off out - petrifying gaze or not. She's probably going to knock '?em dead once she hits the town, but for the moment she just can't get her 'hair' in order. If sales of prints are anything to go by, everyone else thought the idea of Medusa trying to dry the snakes with a hairdryer was a complete hoot, too.
Incidentally, beyond the first Medusa picture I've rather taken to the idea that this lady with the deadly gaze should not be depicted face-on (at least one should not look into her eyes) and so in subsequent paintings either her eyes are obscured or are seen in the reflection of a mirror. From the original story we know this is ok, since (apparently) Perseus cuts off her head by using Athena's highly polished shield as a mirror and, while watching her reflection, strikes the deadly blow. There is another panting in there somewhere, I am sure of it - something about how very unlikely this would be to work!
Well now, skipping on a bit, because I am rambling, the next paintings of Medusa were mainly portrait-type ones, Medusa becoming somewhat more sultry, in Medusa Veiled, and even quite voluptuous (and pale green) in Medusa in Venus Bedroom.
But around this time I thought another question really should be addressed - the delicate question of Medusa's pubic hair, and whether she had, well, snakes instead. Well of course she does, and before you ask, no Medusa does not have underarm snakes (until such time that it suits me that she does have them, of course - I'm making no promises here) but for the meantime I believe she shaves them off, because otherwise it could get really rather nasty.
And then, as I was wondering about painting number six, I started feeling that Medusa really should get her man, somehow. And in Medusa and Oedipus she really looks so much happier than ever before - there's a lengthy explanation about that painting, including the story of Oedipus - so click the link to follow that as I won't repeat it all here.
So, I had found Medusa a man, had established that she had a fondness for red wine, red lipstick, and had a certain kind of flashy style, but what does Medusa actually do? Does she need a career? She isn't likely to be in public relations with her tendency to kill at a glance, but a motivated woman like that surely needs something to occupy her energy.
Even just a hobby might be a start, but it needed to be something where people didn't actually have to look at herâ?¦ or weren't actually allowed to look at her. And then it suddenly occurred to me that she'd make a great Dominatrix. Of course! The she can have her slaves who aren't permitted to look at their Mistress - as she does in Medusa's Gimps where they even are masked - probably all for the best, in case of slip-ups. Whether she is actually providing some kind of service to any and all who feel the need, or whether she and the Gimps live in their own private world is something I'm unclear about as yet, but all the same she makes a rather fine Dominatrix, with a rather overboard sense of interior décor to match her own flamboyant appearance. Don't worry, I think Oedipus is still around somewhere. He's probably running the admin side of her new business for her.
The latest addition to The Medusa Pictures:
As I keep saying - I'm not finished with Medusa yet! The pictures in this little text are bits and pieces to describe my thoughts - as I said at the start if you'd like to see all the Medusa Pictures in detail go back to the top of the page and click on the thumbnails. And if you'd like to be kept up to date with any new developments in my paintings - whether they are Medusa-related or not - you can even email me and ask to be added to my emailing list which I use to send out an occasional newsletter-type thingy.
All images and prints are © Nancy Farmer. Please email me if you wish to reproduce any of these images, or see my permissions page in the 'info' section.