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St. Guinefort, revisited

St. Guinefort the Greyhound. Revisited.

This is about 1,000 times better than the version I posted the other day. IMHO, this is another moment of hitting my stride.

Only trouble is that “my stride” seems to involve one of the slowest, most blindingly tedious mediums in all artdom: colored pencil.

Technically, this is mixed media, but mostly colored pencil, which means mostly hours spent scribbling layer upon layer to build up nuanced color and to fill spaces that a paintbrush could knock out in seconds. Most other artwork I’ve posted has taken two or three hours. This required the better part of two days.

Still, on this one I see only a few things I’d change. So I’m happy. Besides, I secretly like working with colored pencil, so even the tedium is fine.

The tech details: St. Guinefort, Revisited: 6″x8″, mixed media on cream-colored Stonehenge paper. (Underpainting of Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus watercolors, underdrawing of graphite pencil, colored pencil, areas overpainted with metallic gold acrylic and Pearl-Ex)

Oh. And don’t point out that there probably weren’t any green rattlesnakes in 13th century France. You do and I’ll whip out my Official Artistic License to prove I’m authorized to paint that snake any way I want it. Same deal applies should you happen to notice that the greyhound is both behind and in front of the “frame.” Deliberate choice for a change. Not a mistake. He’s a saint! He’s magical! He can do what he wants. Besides, religious art exists to depict the impossible.


  1. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 14, 2017 12:23 pm

    And don’t point out…

    The fleurs-de-lis are a nice French detail. Light and life.

  2. Joel
    Joel May 14, 2017 1:04 pm

    Love the use of light on the face, as if god is telling him who’s a good boy…

  3. Claire
    Claire May 14, 2017 5:03 pm

    “And don’t point out…”

    Thank you. 🙂 And for noticing the fleurs-de-lis, too.

  4. Shel
    Shel May 14, 2017 5:04 pm

    Good dog!

  5. Tahn
    Tahn May 14, 2017 5:41 pm


    Totally cool!

    One question, is the dog a Saint because he/she vanquished the devil snake or is that in my imagination? Of course, that’s what great art does, inspires the imagination, stimulates the emotions and makes one think. For me at least.

    Good Dog look for sure, regardless. Nailed it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Claire
    Claire May 14, 2017 6:05 pm

    Thank you, Shel.

    Thank you, Tahn. Guinefort became a highly unofficial saint for protecting an infant from a snake, then being unjustly martyred. His story (his legend, actually) is here:

    Despite the Church’s attempts to suppress the St. Guinefort heresy, he was locally regarded as a saintly protector of children clear into the 20th century.

  7. Tahn
    Tahn May 14, 2017 7:04 pm

    Thank you Claire,

    Being raised a Methodist I was unaware of that legend but that was exactly the thought that leapt into my mind when I saw this, mostly because of the “I did good” look in St. Guinefort’s eyes and the dead look in the snakes. Wow.

    If you had said so previously. please forgive my inattention.

  8. Pat
    Pat May 15, 2017 6:26 am

    “Besides, religious art exists to depict the impossible.”

    Ain’t it the truth!

    I like this more explanatory rendition. And the darker, richer coloring is beautiful, although I was thrown off at first by the lack of “greyness” in the greyhound.

  9. Comrade X
    Comrade X May 15, 2017 8:08 am

    Very good!

  10. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 15, 2017 8:23 am

    Well, apparently:

    Old English grighund, from grig- “bitch” + hund “dog” (see hound (n.)). The name usually is said to have nothing to do with color, and most are not gray. The Old Norse form of the word is preserved in Hjalti’s couplet that almost sparked war between pagans and Christians in early Iceland:
    Vilkat goð geyja
    grey þykkjumk Freyja

    I will not blaspheme the gods,
    but I think Freyja is a bitch

    Too obscure even for the recent quiz.

  11. Pat
    Pat May 15, 2017 8:45 am

    Thanks, larryarnold. Didn’t know the history of the name. Did know there were some variations in color, but generally the most “popular” is various shades of taupe – which has some grey in it.

  12. Claire
    Claire May 15, 2017 10:53 am

    “Too obscure even for the recent quiz.”

    But GOOD, Larry. I had no idea. Thank you for filling our heads with even more educational trivia. And now I know that “my” Guinefort must be a fawn brindle.

  13. E. Garrett Perry
    E. Garrett Perry May 16, 2017 12:42 am

    Beautiful work, Claire. Your Matagarna is heavyweight stuff!

  14. fred
    fred September 13, 2017 4:48 pm


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