Painting Apollon

Since I have been working on another painting of Apollon recently I wanted to speak about just how I approach painting Apollon. As one who follows Apollon and loves him painting him has always been one of the greatest of pleasures for me. I take pleasure stroking every line of his face and form as I imagine it. And in truth there is a great deal of resemblance between all my paintings of the god in the shape of his face..whereas a great deal of variety can be seen in paintings that I do of other gods. I think this is because out of affection I have a very uniformed way that I see him in my mind’s eye, certain characteristics that have built up on how I understand the god.

For instance he has a gentle curve of his jaw and lips as a testimony to the slightly feminine appearance of a youth. If you don’t believe me then think for a moment on how many highschool boys have *convincingly* dressed up as women for halloween. I went to school with boys who could have easily passed for teenage girls and looked better in a dress than I did. There is a certain androgony in the appearance of youths and that is reflected in the way I portray Apollon. So Apollon is typically painted with softer features, just as Dionysos is regularly similarly depicted by me (with the exception of one image I made of Dionysos as a bearded figure).

However perhaps the thing which is also undeniably evident is his golden hair coloring. To specify here I am not painting him blond. His hair, if you look at the paintings, is quite literally yellow-gold. I am point in fact painting him with gold hair, not blond hair (I have painted blonds before and they have considerably lighter coloring than the glowing burnished color of Apollon’s hair). So this golden hair has nothing to do with racial appearances. I strongly dislike the idea of ethnic phenotypes, since I really don’t think that those exist, but such human phenotypes have nothing to do with the gods in any case. So I give my gods all manner of hair coloring…and Apollon is always painted by me uniformly in gold because he has dominion over the principle of light. In fact in my most recent painting regarind the return of Apollon I am considering adding tints of gold leaf to his hair to make this even more pronounced.

Lastly in terms of articles of clothing, there are three colors maximum that I tend to use for clothing Apollon are white, blue and purple. Specifically for the latter a light “crocus” purple which associated in my mind with Apollon as a royal deity…King Apollon. Blue is less often used by I use it occassionally because it is a popular color refering to the color of the skies when dominated by light during the daytime. My preferred color though is using white for reasons I had already mentioned before in a blog post regarding the color of white….as the color of light and encompassing all colors of the spectrum.

Lastly I more often depict him with a lyre, as leader of the muses, bringer of inspiration, god who draws forth the order of seasons with his harmonic melodies. I don’t disinclude his bow but I have it lax on his shoulder…available to use when necessary but not predominantly in his grasp.

Apollon series

So I have decided to start a series of paintings revolving around the worship of Apollon..more specifically his myths and certain key epithets. This idea started with the plans I am now making for the painting called The Dawn of Spring and the Transference of the Oracle of Delphi (with a personification of spring in attendance following his chariot) in which Apollon arrives to Parnassos and is greeted by Pan and Dionysos. I am planning this specifically for the festival of his return for next spring (though I will paint it this summer so it will be ready long before then). then I thought what about a correlating one in which Dionysos is the arriving figure accompanied by autumn and Apollon is preparing to depart.

From there it was just a bit of musing to think of ideas for the pursuit of Daphne, The wedding of Kyrene, Hyakinthos, The pastures of Karneios, etc etc. In short, considering just how rich Apollon’s mythology and the mythic body associated with his worship is it is probably going to keep me busy for a long long long time 🙂 But the good news is that I am not in any hurry to do all of these, so there will be plenty of other things I will be working on at the same time, including a commission that will take most of the remainder of summer to complete that features Zagreus and the Titans.

So I shall be a busy busy bee, but I will enjoy every second of it! An artist enjoys having purpose 🙂