In the studio I’ve been busy with Prussian Blue, which is great for creating that faded blue colour of old tattoos. The Emperor has new ink – two imperial eagles, one on each of his upper arms. I had trouble locating the right hand tattoo properly and had to repaint it to get it to feel as if it is wrapping around the curve of his arm properly.
The hanged man got a glaze of the same colour over the rock that I’ve added to the bottom of the painting. I remember finding this particular prehistoric cup and ring decorated stone in England in May of 2010 when traveling with a group of students in the North of England near a small town called Wooler in Northumberland, England. The location is wonderful, up high on a moorland hillside overlooking a wide valley. We were pressed for time when we went in search of the stone, and I though we would never find it, because it’s flat to the ground and easily missed. When we found it I remember being completely delighted, because I’d read about this particular site a few years ago when I was busy researching prehistoric art and architecture for my PhD, but never imagined that I’d have a chance to visit it. I’ve included it in the painting because I want to get a deeper sense of what betrayal means, not emphasizing personal relationships alone, but also referring to our relationship to the past. We are the product of many generations of our ancestors, and I want to acknowledge my debt to mine by remembering their culture and acknowledging their influence upon the present. The hanged man reaches for a ring that is sitting on a rock that’s carved with symbols from five thousand years ago, associating him with his ancient forebears.