Muses and Paintings

21 November 2010

The Muses were the daughters of Mnemosyne (Memory).

Calliope is the muse of epic poetry. Homer and Virgil appealed to her for her help in writing the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid. Clio is the muse of history. She is often depicted with a volume, a lyre, a cithara, a lute or a guitar, so we in Big Brother love Clio. Euterpe is the muse of lyric poetry and she often carries an aulos or a flute.

Melpomene is the muse of tragedy. Terpsichore (choral songs and dance),

Erato (her name comes from Eros) is the muse of love poetry, and so we songwriters honor her. Polyhymnia protects the hymnist, the religious song maker. Urania is the muse of the study of heaven, astronomy and astrology.

Thalia is the muse of comedy. She oten carries a comic mask.

Now the Muses are preparing for a ritual.

This is Brice Marden’s version of The Muses. Brice Marden who befriended me once when it counted, he and his wife Helen.

Mousa in Greek means a song or poem, so the Muses are all about the sung word, the spoken word. There are no muses for the plastic arts, painting and sculpture. I have had to dream my own set of Muses with their Muse names, not their human names. Alexandra Aschmann, for example, is a Muse of sanity and reason.

Alexandra exhorted me to paint ¡Escógeme!

Aline Aigner is a droll, merry woman. She looks like a piece of Coptic Art.

Aline gave me the happy thought to do this oil on panel.

Bärbel Brandl’s coloring and her attitude are very engaging.

I was imitating Bärbel’s “color” in this painting All of Us.

Beate Baier is always inspirational. Highly intelligent and amusing, she is one of the most creative goddesses I know.

Beate persuaded me to paint my ancestors at a party.

Carina Così (Lovely Thus, this is her Muse name, not her human name) is a great artist, warm, witty and alive.

Carina asked me to do a portrait of her sister, Andressa.

Cybille Copp is very bright and she is a visionary.

So, when Cybille asked me to do a canvas about where i paint everyday, I took some time and tried to paint everything in the room.

Danie Depner wanted to see what the people in Aroma Café looked like.

So I did this painting to show her.

Daniela Dietz, her Muse name, not her human name, remember, wanted me to do an honest self portrait in oil.

It has always been difficult for me to ignore a request from Daniela.

Elisabeth Eisen also has a keen sense of humor. Her name Elisabeth means “house of God,” and Eisen means “iron.” She has been an inspiration to me since I have known her. Her own paintings are accomplished and interesting. I love them and I love her.

Elisabeth, my favorite Muse, asked me to paint the early Big Brother in oil.

Eva-Maria Ernst is all about the power of music.

Eva-Maria inspired me to paint Peter dancing with Dave as I played.

Florine Fabrizius, this Muse’s name, loves Caravaggio, whom she inspired when he was alive.

I have always admired Caravaggio’s circular composition, and, to learn it truly, I copied it and put Elise and me in there.

I did this portrait of Elise because Franziska Föttinger made me do it.

I toned a canvas and used a piece of charcoal to draw this beautiful woman.

Gabrielle Gagi, her Muse name, not her human name, paints beautiful canvases in a very individual style that is so satisfying. I love her work.

Gabrielle moved me to do this oil of Elise and me

Giselle Günsel is elegant, chic.

Then why would Giselle, the Muse, give me the idea to do this version of these five musicians? She obviously has a taste for the singular.

Hannah Hass has so much discernment and perception for one of her tender years. She pointed out to me the essential character of each of us in Big Brother.

“Now,” she said, “let’s have you interpret this in a vivid manner.”

Hanni Reinmuth who is a divine and almost incorporeal Muse inspired me to do a portrait of Zwanda with musicians in her heart.

This was a work of love, since Zwanda has been my model for years.

Happy Holzinger is a Muse daughter of Clio and she loves the singing of Vera Thomas who performs in Las Vegas.

“Draw me an image of Vera,” Happy ordered, “and make it look like her.”

Henriette Heißbauer is this Muse’s name and she has a pointed intelligence and a keen analytical mind. Henriette induced me to portray Big Brother as Mount Rushmore. Maybe she had just seen North By Northwest.

So, I chose this round panel and painted the version of the band that includes Sophia Ramos and Ben Nieves. Did the artful Henriette encourage me to limn Peter Albin as he was in the 1960s? Hmmmm, I  must take this up with her.

This Muse is Ilse Ismaili and she is a fey sprite indeed.

Ilse likes Hieronymous Bosch and she knows I live in San Geronimo, which is Spanish for Saint Hieronymous, so she urged me to put Elise and me into a Bosch type painting.

Jana Juritsch in Aroma Café. I don’t know her human name.

Jana spurred me on to do this loving couple in oil on a panel.

Katrin König is such a good artist. She knows her materials and techniques and she is the real thing, a great painter. So I listen closely to any suggestion she has.

Katrin said, “Why not put The Virgin of Guadalupe in a painting you’re doing? She has been the Mexican Muse and inspiration since she was an Aztec princess.”

Kerstin Klemp is a novelty seekinng and mischievous Muse, easily bored.

Kerstin said, “You paint all these portraits and you never do anything remotely abstract or design conscious, as, for example, Brice Marden does.”

Here i just went straight to the point and did a painting of Lena Lachner, just to see what this particular Muse of Painting would have to say.

“You have depicted me well enough,” she noted, “I like the movement, and the overall conception.”

Lindii Loidl has a public face. She enjoys life. Then there is her private self. Lindii is an altrovert, inner and outer directed, balanced.

Lindii said to me, “Paint my public self and my private self at the same time?” I will title this work Tatemae Honne, which means ‘Façade and Real Sound’ in Japanese. The inner person and the outer, political persona that we all have.

Manuela Mössenböck just told me about her voyage on a flying trapeze, where she had to trust someone completely when that someone said, “Let go!”

Nadine Naß  marveled at Manuela, and said, “Paint her brain at the moment she is saying, ‘Yes, I will fly with you and trust you to give me direction at the most crucial moment.’ “

Miriam Mülders, my unlikely Muse of metallurgy, said, “Why not do a painting of Elise in her welding gear?”

Elise has always had a fascination with heavy metal.

Olga Ortner began thinking of the local Muses in San Rafael, California.

“Paint them,” she asked, “they are your native deities.”

“OK, Apollo,” Petra Prentner cracked, “paint yourself, your inner self.”

“You mean sketch all that confusion, that doubt, that self questioning,” I answered, “I’m not sure I’m up to that.”

Raphaela Raubal pointed out that I had already painted Zwanda many times.

“Why not portray her again and her ex boyfriend Musa? Such a great name, Musa, do a painting of the two of them, and then put in some of Zwanda’s artwork.”

“Here’s an idea,” says Birgit Braun. “Do a drawing of one of us Muses. Adriana, for example.”

Birgit is an exceptional Muse. She looks a bit like the Muse Thalia here. I did the drawing of Adriana with a Conté crayon and wrote some Japanese.

Giesele Gräshafter is an imaginative, scintillating Muse, and she urges me to do the unparalleled and unprecedented.

I tried to capture Giesele’s mood and élan here.

Monika Mayerhofer is serene, tranquil and she has a self possession that is very attractive. Monika is her Muse name.

I did this drawing in colored pencil to capture how placid Monika was.

Natasche Nerstheimer, sweet, lovely Muse.

I tried to portray Natasche’s sister in sanguine.

Sabrina Schönleitner is an avatar of Terpsichore and she wanted a quick, gesture drawing of dancers.

I hope Sabrina will like this, because I dashed it off very rapidly.

Samira Spießberger is a practical Muse, so I asked her a very concrete question. “Which one of you inspired him to write that book? Was it Clio?”

“Do me a drawing of him,” she replied, “and I might tell you.”

Saskia Schadt is a Muse of sculpture and she helped me plan a work.

To please Saskia, I did these sketches of Deborah on roofing paper.

Thalia Tillman is a Muse of comedy, but she is so lovely that it rather undercuts her humor at times.

Thalia gave me the incentive to complete this image of Janis Joplin.

“Come on,” do something a little unusual, “ declares Theresa Thallhammer. “I’m tired of everything so sweet and orthodox.”

“OK, OK,” I said, “I’ll do me as I really am.”

Ursula Unterberger likes the work of Edvard Munch, and, in fact, she inspired him to do his most famous work, The Scream.

Thus, I thought I would do a modern scream, or maybe it’s just Peter, Dave and Sam singing.

Valbona Pfeil tells me to do a painting in the style of Lucian Freud.

“Show a little boldness and daring. Do it!”

The comely and graceful Viktoria Veit has a yen for skulls. Who knew?

“Viktoria, will you accept this, oh, divine Muse?”

Wilhelmina Weiße is an odd name for this dark angel Muse, but, remember, for all of these deities, I am not using their human names, but only their Muse names.

Wilhelmina caused me to paint Meagan McCauley, who is an excellent singer and a beauteous human being.

Xenia Xiphos has inspired me in so many ways for years. Her art is beyond excellent and she is a person of probity and value.

“Draw a hand,” Xenia directed, “just a hand, nothing more.”

Yana Young, delicate, refined, a well favored Muse.

“Do a pencil sketch of you and Peter and Dave.”

Zandra Zeke, the gamin Muse, nomadic seraph of the streets. She murmurs, “Draft for me a naked woman, sculptural, sepulchral, well constructed.”

Thank you, Zandra, and thank all of you Muses for your help over the years.

And thank you too, to Max Clarke, who took many of these photographs.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


One thought on “Muses and Paintings

  1. Hope you are well, Elise. I must look up the meaning of the word “muse” again. I have a hunch I may have used it incorrectly somewhere. Thanks for sharing these memories.

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