Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Iron Fist"

8 x 6"
oil on panel

I started this painting on Halloween evening, right before I went inside the house and watched The Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price.  I savored the day.

I first saw Blind Pew, by N. C. Wyeth, in the Brandywine Museum of Art, which houses three generations of Wyeth artists - N. C. the father, Andrew, the son of N. C. and Jamie, the son of Andrew.  I worship all three.  I grew up nearby Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and my mom always welcomed a road trip to this area, she made countless pen and ink sketches of the old stone buildings and countryside.  It was an artist's haven and inspiration.  I'm sure that was around the time I knew I wanted to be an illustrator like N. C. Wyeth.

The blind beggar, Pew, is a minor character in Chapter 3 of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Pew knows Billy Bones is a boarder at the Admiral Benbow Inn and wants the map to Treasure Island.  Pew was a member of Captain Flint's crew of pirates and had since squandered away his share of pilfered riches, leaving him to beg and thieve.

Pew knocks on the door, terrifying the keeper of the inn, asking to see Billy Bones.  Pew takes the man's arm as they climb the stairs, Jim realizing the old man has a strong grip. An "iron fist".  Pew delivers a warning to a passed out Billy Bones.  Later on in the book, Pew returns to the inn with a group of buccaneers to ransack the inn and find the map to the treasures, but it is nowhere to be found.  A fight ensues, they take it outside in the moonlit road.  And the tale goes on.

Blind Pew is one of many illustrations in the Brandywine.  They're surprisingly huge works of art and treasures.

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