The small source painting was done in Japan (circa) 1959.
Size: 17 7/8 “ x 14 ˝ “ medium: gouache on paper, later mounted on wood
multiple scrapings with a razor blade, while paint was still wet.
From the beginning, the images that came to me from this work were first, that of a War God a la Mussolini intertwined with a Greek temple. On the right is a crucifixion in several stages leading up to an open book or a bird flapping its wings. The War God is emitting an evil orgasm of flame toward the Crucifixion. Humanity, occupying the lower right hand quadrant is, as usual, in bondage and chaos, divided against itself.
I have been wanting to develop the ideas I saw in this small painting ever since 1959 but I realized that I was too besotted with the subtle colors and the paint quality to begin work on a large scale. I was fearful of becoming trapped into trying to reproduce these rather accidental and spontaneous qualities. In addition, I felt the lack of what I call “the big idea,” i.e. an overall design rhythm which would pull together all the elements. The obvious path was to develop an intermediate drawing, now that I knew that I wouldn’t be trying to copy qualities of the sketch which were desirable but not the core of the potential locked up in the sketch. I was still calling it “War God” or ”The Soul of George W. Bush” This small painting was exhibited at the Sothern Illinois Faculty Show in 2008. This led to the next two working sketchs.