Monday, December 12, 2011

who knew?

Penelope, 24 x 24, pastel on prepared board
Who knew, while she waited for (some say) 20 years, if her husband king would come back from his adventure in Troy ...

Who knew if he would return while she held off suitors by  working her loom by day and pulling out all of the work at night ...

Who knew if the kingdom of Ithaca would stand after so many years without leader or king ...

Long after Homer wrote about constant and wise Penelope, Tennyson wrote these words on behalf of the old king Odysseus (Ulysses):

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race
That hoard, and sleep, and feel, and know not me.


And so,  I have painted Penelope, in the fresh dew of her youthful beauty, looking out through the gate of Ithaca, to the sea. Her eyes are on the horizon, hoping for her first view of the sails of the great trireme or the sound of the call for the oarsmen to pull. At this moment, all is unknown. Who knew? Not even the gods.

2 comments:

Joni James said...

Beautiful Katherine!

SamArtDog said...

All of those layers of underpainting create a wistful story. Wonderful.