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  • Writer's pictureJ Susan Aitken

Gargoyle Fun

If you harken back to the teaser in February, you may remember this guy. For various reasons he was put aside, but now Dragoyle: Anticipation (24 x 30, oil on canvas) is finished! The dragoyle is inspired by a fun gargoyle who is normally firmly attached to the Washington Cathedral, but now finds himself enmeshed in a church window depicting the fishes and the loaves (John 6:1-14). Unfortunately, the fish are just out of reach! In addition to thoroughly enjoying painting these gargoyles, the paradoxical nature of including them in the stained glass window style to form a new narrative amuses me. At present, I am finishing Kittygoyle: A Study in Self-Control, so stay tuned!

But what exactly are gargoyles? During the Gothic period a gargoyle was part of a larger group of unique architectural sculptures on churches and cathedrals called grotesques, intended to scare and protect. The gargoyle, however, also had the practical purpose of acting as a drain-spout. Interestingly, 'gargoyle' (gargouille) comes from gorge, meaning throat in French. An authentic gargoyle has an open mouth which is connected to the structure's gutter system, allowing for rainwater to pour out of it.

Apparently, there is a French legend associated with the historical use of these creatures as waterspouts. Back in the 7th century Rouen, Saint Romain, the bishop, defended his town against a fire-breathing beast by the name of La Gargouille, and burned him at the stake. Oddly enough, the head and neck portion remained, so the bishop attached it to the church building where it not only served as a trophy but also as a waterspout! (

On a different note entirely, I recently had the opportunity to recommend Yostina Kaoud, a CCS animation student and Plymouth Christian Academy alumna, to the Visual Arts Association of Livonia for a scholarship. Last week she was officially awarded $500 at the monthly meeting at the Civic Center Library in Livonia. Yostina received her award, gave a few words about her work in animation, and thanked the members. In high school, she had been an art student of mine and was certainly deserving of this recognition, both for her art and character!

Don't forget to visit my website to see more paintings! Just click here: Dragoyle: Anticipation

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