The return of Medusa

Medusa of the Levels - sketch of head
Medusa of the Levels – sketch of head

In case you thought I only did drawings of swimmers nowadays, here is a little work in progress. I have an exhibition booked at Ilminster Arts Centre in July and I need to get on with quite a lot of new work, of the kind of ‘fantasy-satire’ that people expect to see there (and indeed what I expected to exhibit there when I booked it a couple of years ago). The swimming drawings probably will also feature, but I have a working title for the exhibition which is ‘A Westcountry Bestiary‘ and a nice little handful of new paintings along those lines. But not enough.

So, Medusa returns. Sort of. She is going to be a bit different to what you’d expect, but you can’t really tell from this. This is my sketch so far. The coloured one is not real colour – it’s just a bit of digital scribbling,  just me pondering whether to use a lot of gold leaf… again! It is about to be transferred onto watercolour paper to be completed in real paint, and yes, possibly a lot of gold leaf.

If you haven’t seen some of my older paintings, there have been rather a lot of Medusa paintings. They are all on the old site, here.

Medusa of the Levels - with reflection but as yet, no water...
Medusa of the Levels – with reflection but as yet, no water…
Medusa of the Levels - sketch
Medusa of the Levels – sketch

Medusa of the Levels - sketch with colour
Medusa of the Levels – sketch with colour



  1. Hi Nancy
    Looks a cool painting in progress. Is the irony that in the original legend, Medusa was herself slain by seeing her own reflection in Perseus’ shield?

    1. no, I don’t think she was, I think that was another legend about another monster (probably at a later, less brutal age of legend-making). So far as i remember she was slain by having her head cut off, but Perseus did use the reflection in his shield to see where she was in order to do this. Curiously then, out of her severed neck sprang the winged horse Pegasus, and a giant wielding a golden sword. Which only goes to show that not even Classical legend makes that much sense at times…..

      1. Oh
        You are right completely. I should have checked before posting a comment. Her reflection protected Perseus. So in your reworking she might well preen herself indulgently gazing at the water’s image.

        1. ah… well she often preens, but no, I thought of making one extra change that is very Somerset, I think…. 😉

  2. Welcome back, Medusa, it’s been too long!

  3. I loved that one you did where she was blow drying her snakes.. 😉

  4. Eric Dana Vaughan

    Your Medusa sketches are enchanting. I admired your other pieces, such as the witches, swimmers, and the critter letters. But there is something that you bring to the Medusa art that is unique and wholly different. You add a bringing of life to her that makes it seem, or feel, that you draft her as if she stood before you, and not from your great imagination. It is hard to explain, as the observer or appreciators, but you make her alive, if that makes any sense at all.

    1. Thank you so much 🙂

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