Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Upper hieroglyphs

I was going to paint the whole area on the right of Cleopatra including the cartouches, but had a bit of a headache, so this is how far I got this time.

You can see I paint from left to right. The reason for this is that I am right handed and this is oil paint and I don't want to smudge the already painted area with my hand.

Dendera is situated about 60 km north of Luxor.

I visited it with my husband in 2005 - we left early in the morning on a cruise ship. It was quite a surprise how cold it was at 7 am when the boat left - the staff gave us thick towels to use as blankets.

Dendera itself is a very old place of worship - shrines were built there from the earliest dynasties onwards. The present temple comes from the Ptolemaic age, with Roman additions and it is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt.

A beautiful place, well worth a visit!!


  1. Your artwork is incredible! The level of detail that you have put into this painting really makes it look as though it is a photograph of the real thing. Do you have any photos of other Egyptian peices you've done? We'd love to see those.

  2. Oh my goodness - you are Bennu from Twitter? I just started following you there. I am Storystory, you´ll recognize me from the bright yellow dandelion pic.

    I´ll go and read yor sites / blogs as soon as I have a moment. I might wish to add them to my links / followed blogs if that is allright with you.

    And thank you for the compliment. Sometimes I doubt my own sanity almost when I doodle with these teeny tiny details. But it seems that realism is my style - I can only envy those who take a brush, make a few quick movements and end up with a work of art.

    I do the details as well as I can, yet I still hope the end result looks like a painting also.

    Still - when you are passionate about something, you don´t count the hours. And ancient Egypt sure has been my passion since childhood - but oddly enough I haven´t done paintings about the subject. I have been painting horses all my life instead.

    Well - here you shall then see all the Egypt-themed paintings I´ll be making. So come and see my blog every once in a while :)

  3. Ah Storystory, I recognise you now. I certainly will be following your updates. I love the close up photos that show the high level of detail. I'm especially intrigued with the idea of following a painting as it is being painted. It's going to be exciting!

  4. Oh, I should post those detail photos then :)
    Have to admit that getting comments make me crawl out of sofa and go paint some more. After a full day's work and then studying I am sometimes sooo tired. But the paintings don't create themselves, it seems the need someone to use the paint brush LOL

  5. It's amazing the way you paint, that you don't take a presketch! How can you ever get the porportions just like the original? Excellent work!

  6. Hi, Joan! Actually I do make a sketch (of the main lines, not all the details) - but not on the painting surface. Because these details are so numerous, it is impossible to work on the whole painting at once (as an artist should, accoring to "the rules").

    I had to paint this one little bit at a time - and if I had made a drawing on the painting surface, my hand would have smudged it. So when ever I wanted to paint one part, I put the drawing on top of it and traced the part I was going to paint through it with a sharp pen.

    Then I took my paints and brushes and started working on those faint lines and painted until the part was ready. At this stage I had at least 20 reference photos and a magnifying glass. Squinting and painting, squinting and painting...

    And after that I cut off the part of the sketch I had just painted. This way it was easy to put the sketch on top of the painting at the right spot the next time I painted and trace the next part - I just matched the contours of the cut sketch paper and the already painted area.

    Came up with this system out of necessity - I had to have a drawing, obviously, but I couldn't make it on the painting surface.

    The only bad point about this method is that I of course destroy my sketch while I work.