Progress on “The Fates” triptych…

First of three panels in oils made by Adam Townsend for a planned triptych screen.
First of three panels in oils made by Adam Townsend for a planned triptych screen.

Back in the summer of 2015, we refurbished the floors in our apartment with beautiful, dark composite hardwood.

The problem was, I ordered 125 square feet too many, and the distributor was going to charge me to take it back.

That’s when I came up with a vague idea to craft it into a mythology-inspired triptych with models in various motifs from history and world folklore and religion. All three panels would have female nudes reminiscent of the three Fates in Greek myths or the Norns of Norse legend.

This second panel is called "Hanuman and Kumbhakarna Play Bluegrass." Progress as of 1/24/2018. By Adam Maxwell Townsend
This second panel is called “Hanuman and Kumbhakarna Play Bluegrass.” Progress as of 1/24/2018. By Adam Maxwell Townsend

Now I’m about two-thirds done with the second panel and have detailed construction plans for a hinged set of frames. The piece will stand on its own some 7 feet high as a screen, backed with velvet. In other words, though I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out, it has become a baroque monstrosity fit only for an expensive brothel.

Luckily, I never expected anyone to buy it for the price I would demand, given the labor, so it will be an excellent show-piece to take around to art shows and garner clients.

This is a drawing/photo that maps out the design of the second panel, "Kumbhakarna and Hanuman Sing Bluegrass"
This is a drawing/photo that maps out the design of the second panel, “Kumbhakarna and Hanuman Sing Bluegrass”

I did my first sketch of a model I liked from the figure drawing sessions in October of 2015, then crafted my first approximately 6’X3’ arch-topped panel with glue and tacks.

First, I tried to use the traditional Renaissance method of gridding the original drawing and then scaling it up, square by square. Unfortunately, even though this results in an accurate copy, it loses something undefinable about the original. Plus, I painted it directly on the wood, which was not an ideal surface for oils.

I scotched that effort and wrapped canvas around the panel – a much better surface. Then, I used a light projector to project a copy of the original drawing on the canvas to trace, which allowed the drawing to retain its original vitality.

These are blueprints I set up to guide me in building my planned triptych, for which one panel is finished.
These are blueprints I set up to guide me in building my planned triptych, which is currently about half finished.

It took me about a year to finish, off and on, and it’s titled “Vanna and the Celestial Jukebox”

For the second painting, I was inspired by my May, 2016 trip to Bali, Indonesia with my wife. In the spirit of cultural mashup, I depicted two Hindu demigods/characters from the epic The Ramayana playing a banjo and a fiddle as the woman in the foreground looks to the stars beneath a sacred banyan tree.

For this one, I found a nude photograph I liked. Some other models at the art supply studio sessions were great, but didn’t work for this project. Also, considering I don’t have a proper studio, I didn’t want to be that guy who puts an ad on Craigslist to hire a chick to come get naked in his garage.

The third panel is built, but I haven’t yet designed the image. I’ll need to finish the second and stretch the canvas for the third while I work out my ideas in my sketchbook.

First of three panels in oils made by Adam Townsend
First of three panels in oils made by Adam Townsend

Stay tuned for further updates! I’ll post progress photos as I complete the work.