This is Medusa Me or A Wing Can Cover All Sorts Of Things.
I can’t decide on the title. Maybe it’s both. Maybe it’s just Self Portrait as Medusa. Maybe it’s all three – as mercurial as me.
As my readers are well aware, I have an obsession with Medusa. It started years ago when I was a little boy. I remember pouring over mythology books and staring at her image. I had a song about Magdalena Hagdalena who had snakes in her hair. Every chance I could, I watched Clash of the Titans. I was fascinated with the myth, a woman that was at once the most beautiful creature on earth yet also so monstrous to behold that her gaze would turn men into stone (I’ve always wondered if she had an effect on women – something that Perseus should have thought).
Medusa is a totem for me and occurs within more than a few of the haiku. Medusa also started The Monster Ballad; she was the first of the monsters to be captured for the book. I think that I am drawn to her chthonic qualities and the nature of her hybridity. She is more than one thing at once and I understand that.
The snakes are based on rattlesnakes and other desert dwellers. The wings are also based on a desert creature, the horned owl. I chose these animals because I was raised on the edge of desert and mountain wilderness. They’re totemic to me in the same way as Medusa.
Painting this piece was more than difficult. I kept running into blocks, was distracted by life and all manner of excuses. It’s hard to portray yourself as a monster – even when you are aware of your own wickedness. But she is complete now and I’m proud of the finished product. I’d hang her in a prominent place but I don’t think Boyfriend will approve. He doesn’t like my beheaded image.
The self portrait is acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 48.”