Medusa head


I couldn’t wait any longer, too obsessed with her.  My impatience set me up for failure, of course. What I got so far, has nothing to do with what I had in mind. I wanted to make her sad but dangerous at the same time. I remember someone saying one of the typical traps of learning is the work controls you, and not the other way around. This is exactly what’s  happening. I think she looks kinda sad, but there’s nothing dark or scary about her. I’m giving up for today, too frustrated. The problem is I wanted the eyes alone make her scary, but that’s too darn hard to do on a relief. Maybe I can do something with her tomorrow. I’ll finish it anyway, just for practice if nothing else…It’s so difficult to figure everything out on my own…


Two things  happened today: firstly, I was determined to take back control over her…Secondly: I was thinking of Caravaggio’s Medusa painting, why was it so good, why was it working? Then I realized, what made her so scary other than her eyes, was her grossly distorted mouth. “That’s it”- I thought. “Forget about realism, and don’t mind asymmetry. Symmetry makes boring and flat.” It’s all about deceiving the eyes, like in Swallows’ post about reliefs. After all, when we look in the mirror, we can see our face is  not symmetric at all. So, armed with this realization, I worked on her for about 3 hours. Now, when I post this, will see the difference. Better or worse?


I tried to make her more 3D  today, she has changed again. Photos are a good way of seeing what needs to be done. Swallows, I made changes according to your advice- but it’s a long way to go. I’m getting tired of her, so tomorrow I’ll make a few more small changes and maker her hair. I think she looks definitely scarier…


I guess she defeated me…Should have stayed with version 3. But even version 3…not happy with myself right now.

Ok, I took another look at this hours later. The hair is coming off. Gotta try something else.


I think this is the final version.

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~ by erikatakacs on February 6, 2008.

10 Responses to “Medusa head”

  1. I think the eyes are good, strange, maybe scary. Maybe on another mask Medusa should mug a little or yell or otherwise distort her pretty face. It IS a lot to ask of the eyes to do all the scaring. I can’t wait to see all the curling snakes.

  2. I like her left eye now, but after all this work she doesn’t seem much scarier. Although if nothing else does it, I’ll put in a few teeth in her mouth. That will do the trick for sure. Already tried it, but I thought it was a little too much. I’ll hollow her mouth more tomorrow to see if that’s enough.
    I don’t even know how I’m going to make the snakes, Swallows. Maybe they won’t be snakes as in real life…just trickery again.:) Thanks for all your help and interest.

  3. Erika: I hadn’t read what you wrote under your second version of the Medusa before writing my comment. I think the Caravaggio is a bad model for a sculptured face. There’s not enough relief there. In sculpture you need planes—a lot of relief clues. Remember that the mouth is not just a hole in the wall of a face. That face is a muscle contraption and the mouth is not independent. Everyone is misled by concepts, words. We have a name for mouth and nose, but it is better not to look at them as separate entities. The face is all one. Watch what happens everywhere on the face during any of the common expressions—the furrows, the dimples, how the wings of the nose widen, etc. Work Medusa’s eyebrows a little. Look at the frown Michelangelo always puts on his faces, that knot on the forehead above the nose—I say knot but it has a beginning and an end. If so much symmetry bothers you, turn her head a little on the next mask.

  4. How long can you keep her wet? If it were clay I’d cover her for a few days and then come back with a fresh eye. She’s coming right along. Your eyes are still the best part. You know, in some ways making a relief is harder than a round version because of the compression necessary. Let’s see how she looks with hair (or snakes).

  5. Chin up, erika–yours, not the Medusa’s. I’m going to stop giving my two cents. I bet some people are even mad at me for having advised you to change your second face, which had its merits. This one is spooky. The eyes are still the best, I think. They seem to roll and have their own life. The snakes really look snaky and very off-putting, as they should. Now I wonder what you’ll do with hair.

  6. Don’t be angry, just finish it and move on to something else. Everything is a learning experience. Don’t let this one piece trap you into feeling badly. Every artist creates something they are dissatisfied with at some time. I’ll have to show you the man I broke one of these days.

    Let it go. Start fresh. Work fast. Keep improving.

  7. No, no, Swallows, what you told me was helpful, just need to learn how to do relief. It’s not easy. I think I’ll just try my hand at body parts next. My biggest issue was with the cheeks.
    I’m ok Kim, and I’ll finish it, even if it’s not what I hoped for. The next challenge is colouring, thinking of either stone look or bronze. Not sure at this point.
    Thank you both for your support, as always!

  8. Be happy, erika, with this. But do ten more and full busts in between. I predict that someday you’ll knock your Caravaggio on his ass.

  9. I like it as it is.

  10. Thank you, Sharon, I painted her after this, but looks like I haven’t link the picture here.

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