Posts Tagged ‘satyr’

The Art Critic

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

The heron was so recently dead that nothing had disturbed its carcass. Finding a comparatively dry and shady spot on the bank, I pulled out my sketchpad and mechanical pencil. Unfortunately, I only had a few moments alone before I heard him scrambling through the underbrush. Uninvited, he sat close beside me and gaily splashed his hooves in the creek.

“Howdy do!” he grinned.

“Hmm,” I muttered in reply.

He pulled some poison ivy from a nearby tree and nudged me. “Some?” he asked.

“No, I’m pretty sure it would kill me.”

“Oh, that’s right! Your kind is allergic to it. Boy oh boy, you don’t know what you’re missing!” He crammed a handful in his mouth, loudly chewing and smacking while still splashing his hooves. I tried pretending he wasn’t there.

Finishing his snack, he cheerfully asked, “Hey, whatcha doin’? You drawing?”

I nodded.

He bent over to look at my sketch, blocking my view. “Hey! You trying to draw that dead heron there?”

I sighed and nodded.

“Well,” he said happily, “you sure ain’t no Audubon. I gotta say your drawing is awful, absolutely awful.”


“Birds sure aren’t your forte. Hey! I got an idea! Why don’t you try drawing me?”

“Can’t. I only draw fantasy.”

“That so? That’s too bad. You know, I like posing for artists.”


“I used to pose for Apelles.”

“You knew Apelles?” I asked, instantly regretting opening my mouth.

“Oh, sure, knew all the old Greeks. Then much later I moved to Italy and knew ‘em all there, too: Piero di Cosimo, Andrea del Sarto, you name ‘em.”


“Almost. He killed a man and had to skip town the day before I was supposed to pose for him.”

That gave me an idea. I looked around for a big stick or a heavy rock. Sadly, there were none.

“So,” I mumbled, mildly curious in spite of myself, “how did you wind up all the way over here?”

“Oh, you know the story. Wife had relatives here so here is where she wanted to be and I didn’t feel like butting heads over it with the old nanny goat.” He paused to chuckle at his own joke. He was the only one who did. “So here is where we settled. Then the kids came along… Kids! Hey! Get it!” He nudged me. I did not deign to respond. “Yep, kids and then grandkids and then, you know, you just lose your energy and wanderlust as you get older. You find yourself stuck. But I ain’t complaining, mind you. Once folks like Rubens died out and people like Courbet came along my modeling career was pretty much kaput anyway. And back in the day when there were factories here a good, honest satyr could make a pretty good, honest living. Still, you know, there are times a body can’t help missing the old days.”

“I know,” I whispered.

From a distance arose the chattering of an approaching gaggle of joggers, their noise frightening away all the wildlife. He dove into the underbrush. “Catch you satyr!” he laughed.

“Not if I’m lucky,” I muttered as I watched his shadow merge with the foliage. I then returned to the sketch and studied it. As you can see for yourself, the old satyr was right; it doesn’t look much like a heron. I blame him for that since he distracted me.

Each in Its Proper Time

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

There’s not much to this. It’s just your typical warm-weather backyard scene.

The Way of All Flesh

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

It’s not hard watching a dream being born. It is hard watching it die.

The Wrestler Past His Prime

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

His life was filled with battles, most of which he lost. He’d console himself by thinking they were unimportant. But then, if they were insignificant, what did that make his life?

In My Youth, I Dwelt on Mountains

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

This is simply another attempt at doing a drawing a day. One nice thing about mythological characters is that one can get away with so much. Do the satyr’s arms seem freakishly long? Well, surely you know their arms keep growing all through their lives? Go out and find an old satyr and see for yourself. And also, the melancholy of unrealized dreams and the inevitable silencing of this mortal coil, when treated as abstraction, as unreal sorrows borne by unreal creatures, is an age-old device. Just ask any satyr you happen to see.

It’s Getting Better All the Time

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

This is another drawing done for a conference that had units based on Beatles’ songs. I am not a political animal by any means, so I’m rather taken aback by how much this character reminds me of Jimmy Carter. I’m also almost certain the satyr was based on a Rubens’ figure. But back to the main figure and his apparent apotheosis. I tried to express things getting better for him by having everything rapturously swirling about him. This also was no doubt inspired by Rubens. Satyrs dance joyously around Jimmy; cherubs happily bring bouquets; the dog adores him with fervent adulation even beyond that of an ordinary canine (its front paws are supposed to imply that it’s blissfully adoring Jimmy, not that it’s having a particularly difficult bowel movement. Although with dogs, how can one really be sure?). In fact, the only thing that could be better than being Jimmy would be to be Jimmy’s dentist.

Greek Myths #2: “If Pan Is Dead, Then Why Am I?”

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

I did a small series on Greek myths that I thought no one would ever see. When I started this blog, I began to think maybe it’s time to unleash them upon an unsuspecting world. The piece titled “Odysseus” (which I posted earlier on this blog) is actually the first piece in this particular series, but when I posted it, I didn’t think I’d be posting the rest of them. But things change, as the wise old sage once said. As such, you are now viewing #2 in the series. I will be posting the rest as time allows.

Before summarizing this piece, I apologize for the figure’s left hand. It’s obvious I was having a bad “I can’t draw hands” day at the time. (Alas, the poor creature may have been born that way or hit by a speeding object. I don’t know which, but I’m sorry for creating him with a gimp).

Now, Plutarch once wrote that in the reign of Tiberius a sailor, Thamus by name, was commanded by a voice shouting over the waves that, “When you reach Palodes, take care to proclaim that the great god Pan is dead.” That ancient anecdote is the inspiration for this drawing. Indulging one’s fancy that such beings once were, one then wonders what became of the minor mythological creatures, this satyr for example, when their siring and sustaining myth, Pan, perished. Or, in the real world, when love dies, when the frontier is all blacktopped over, when an ideal is snuffed out, when the presumed very purpose for their existence ceases to be, then what becomes of the devoted, the pioneer and the dreamer?