Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hermes and Maia

Another gem from one of my high school sketchbooks:

As I was working I loved the how the expressions on the faces were turning out and the characters began to remind me of the Greek god Hermes and his mother Maia. This is another example of one of my illustrations taking on a life of its own.

At a very young age my father bought me a book about Greek Mythology. I loved that it was over my head at the time; it made me feel like I had to keep up with him. I remember how he would read it out loud to me while I kept asking him questions. When he was done reading for the night I would take the book to my room and look at the illustrations over and over again before I was told to go to bed. All these years later and I still have that book. The cover is ripped and most of the pages have fallen out of the binding; but they are all there. All of the illustrations are embedded in my long term memory. That book was the beginning of my love of Greek Culture. 

One of my favorite stories from that book was about Hermes and how precocious he was as a child. On the first day he was born he snuck away from his sleeping mother, stole Apollo's cattle, and invented a musical instrument called the lyre. He grew to become the quick-witted messenger of the gods, as well as being associated with travelers, poets, orators, athletes, thieves, invention, and commerce. 

When I was making this illustration I had not intended to have any context behind it, however, the facial expressions and demeanors of the characters began to remind me of Hermes and Maia. The clever Hermes occupies his time with playing a musical instrument. His mother, caught up in her daily tasks, lovingly shakes her head at a mischievous son who, although bright, was most likely a handful to raise. 

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