Archive for September, 2009


Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2009 by babylonbaroque

greystone len 022My love of Grotesque ornament is long established. I love the symmetry, the complexity, and the inventiveness allowed in a pretty strict decorative formula. I can play with this form of ornament over and over. The 19th century ornamentist Michel Lienard was particularly adept at this form of expression, he really brought the grotesque to Grotesquerie. Demons, bound maidens, snarling lizards and lion, unchaste putti, and writhing dragons fill out his disturbingly elegant designs.

I have here a much more restrained panel I did for the Greystone Showcase in Beverly Hills a few years back. It is one of many panels I painted in quick succession. As is the nature of showcase houses you have a limited time to get the work out. It’s digested by the public, then re-done the following year. I relied on my stage painting skills for effect. I cringe a bit at some of the details, as I pride myself on minute brush work, but the overall impression was attractive.

The Frick  Collection in NY has opened an exciting little show exploring Grotesque ornament, “Exuberant Grotesques:Renaissance Majolica From the Fontana Workshop”. The show runs until Jan. 17th, I hope I will be able to catch it.

In defense of “twee”

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2009 by babylonbaroque

1611charliees_415x275jpgPrince Charles had his plans for an addition to Kensington Palace dashed recently. The London critics were merciless, decrying the Regency style portico as “twee”, better suited for a garden pavilion. From the rendering it doesn’t appear particularly sweet or sentimental, it IS decorative, but I am hard pressed to find fault with that.

The criticism seems harsh, true it is not a menacing plate- glass pavilion meant to express our current architectural norms, but it is a very pleasant, rather average bit of architecture. It is human and approachable, and I imagine  would have been popular with most visitors.

Too bad this Prince Regent doesn’t have the same power as the great Prinny.