“le tete du taureau,” Mixed Media, paper on canvas, 9″x12,” cold wax finish
The French caves were breathtaking. The guide at Lascaux 2 (the original cave, Lascaux, circa 17,000 BCE closed to the public due to damage caused by human breath) said we were entering an ice age cathedral. The huge cave of the bulls made me gasp; it contained some 2,000 images, about 900 of which are extending about 240 metres in length – most of which are animals, and the remainder geometric symbols of varying shapes. The sheer number of images, their size and exceptional realism, as well as their spectacular colors are called “The Sistine Chapel of Prehistory”. Lascaux’s cave art was recreated when Lascaux 2 was painted to scale by artists using original materials (blow pipes and feather brushes, leather pieces etc, paint made from minerals and water found during excavations.). Lighting was small oil lamps!
We have to have everything in lighted comfortable surroundings to even contemplate composing. No photographs were permitted in the cave so I made a quick sketch on an advertisement in my purse of the head of le taureau, the bull. I added abstract marks as found at the Cougnac cave, older than Lescaux by more than 3000 years. In finishing, I used layers of glue to show the depth and impact of the images. I sealed the final product on canvas with acrylic pouring gloss, then rubbed a cold wax finishing product.
Both Matisse and Picasso were deeply moved by these caves as was Margaret Watts! Man has always created visually, spiritual part of the human condition along with the need to adorn.