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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Offerings for Sobek - An Exercise in Perseverance


I've been watching two Great Courses by Bob Brier lately. One is the history of ancient Egypt and the other is about hieroglyphs. I'm sad and ashamed to say that I put the hieroglyph one aside for a while because I just didn't make time for the homework, but I truly hope to get back to it soon.

Anyway, I've always greatly admired ancient Egyptian art, and I especially like the crocodiles! So I decided to do a painting of a crocodile taking offerings to Sobek, the god of crocodiles, the Nile, and fertility.  Actually, the bird is not part of the offering, but he too is going to give offerings.

Now that it's complete, I like this painting. But the process was grueling. Up until the very end I had strong negative feelings about what I was creating - except for the idea. By the way, this is acrylic on gesso board, 12" x 16". I started directly on the board with only the idea of what I wanted to do.

I worked on it for six sessions, 2 to 3 hours each, and at the end of each session - except the last - I was tempted to just give up. But, telling myself there's always something to learn, I just kept going. Every morning when I got up I'd look at the painting, hoping it wasn't as bad as I thought. But it always - once again, except at the end - was every bit as bad as I thought and maybe even worse.

But in the end, I pulled it off! The trick was to keep going, keep adding detail, keep adding contrast, keep darkening the sky. And in the end, I think it worked.

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