Thursday, October 1, 2009

Detail of the Cartouches

Vincent mentioned in an earlier comment he likes to see details of the painting, so I´ll be posting those.

Here are the two cartouches between Cleopatra and Cesarion. Interestingly the lions were hacked away, as well as some bird figures (Hawks? I´m only learning the basics of hieroglyphs so I don´t have the expertise to tell the answer myself).

How to paint those tiny chisel marks again was an interesting thing to do. The destroyed area shows the shape of the original hieroglyph well, but still it needed to look "destroyed". I wonder if the hacking in question was done when Octavian wanted images of Cleopatra destroyed? I wonder if anyone knows?

I realized the shapes of the cartouches are not quite oval, but that happens when you paint with free hand using a brush. Oil paint is a bit tricky. You need to have it wet enough so that the brush leaves an even line on the canvas, but if you use paint that is too thin, you'll just end up adding more paint over the already painted area. And if the paint is a bit too thick, it spreads unevenly, especially when you use miniature brushes. It sort of clumps on the bristles.

Well - next I´ll be moving down so I get the stone done on the right of Cleopatra.

I have a slight problem with the tiny hieroglyphs on the left of Cleopatra - and also between Cleopatra and Cesarion. My reference photos aren't quite as sharp as they should. But I might get better pics - someone is travelling to Egypt and might be able to go to Dendera and take such photos for me I could use. If so, I'll be giving full credit to my "photo-assistant" :)


  1. Oh how kind of you Leena. It would be wonderful to have even larger photos...and perhaps even some photos of the brushes so that us viewers can get even more involved and relate to the process.

    I have found another photo of the scene that you might be able to use as a second reference, Click here or here for a larger version of the same photo which gives good detail of the glyphs.

    Flickr is a great resource for these sorts of things and I had wondered if you have your own Flickr account. They are free and not too difficult to set up. It would be a great way for you to share your photos with a larger community.

  2. I am a bit uncertain about the bigger detailed pics - you see copying is such a problem on the net.

    On the left you can see a link to my short story website

    I do publish the stories for anyone to read without cost, but I also state they are copyrighted and cannot be copied without permission. Yet every week I find my stories on blogs and websites (found one yesterday in a newspaper in Nepal, can you believe it!). And no credit given to me as the author nor a link back to my site.

    Often they have copied the whole page with pics (which are also copyrighted - I have bought the right to use them on my site), so I know they have been to my website and not just received the stories in some email.

    PLUS they often use the stories for financial gains (Google Adsense etc) which is not nice. I use many hours weekly to build my site - and it is not free of cost.

    So I am a bit afraid that if I put very detailed photos here, others may use them to sell as postcards, prints etc.

    The idea of these paintings is to make an art exhibition eventually, but I may try to get some "study money" for my Egyptology studies by selling prints of them myself one day. And so I post the photos here with small pixels - not possible to make sharp copies that way.

    I´ll have to check about Flickr... Haven't had time to consider it yet, though I have noticed quite many people I know have albums there :)

    Thank you so much for those links, I am off to check the photos now.

  3. Thanks for the explanation. I understand your reluctance, I've experienced issues with plaigiarism and breaches of copyright.

    Any form of promoting your work risks someone taking it and using it for their own purposes. I've personally dealt with this by licensing my work under a Creative Commons License. There are six different levels of the CC license and one that might suite your work is CC By NC ND. CC = Creative Commons, By = must attribute the author, NC = Non-Commercial, ND = No Dirivitives. The explanation on the Creative Commons website is:

    "This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially."

    Read more about the licenses here:

    Flickr has the ability to put CC licenses on your photos built in to the platform. With one or two clicks you can choose any licese for each photo. Certainly worth looking into, being free is great too.

    Hopefully that photo I found for you will help with your painting. I feel like I've contributed just a little bit. :-)