Battle of the Centaurs was one of my most ambitious early works. It combined stunning scenery with a detailed plot. The whole painting was difficult for me. I tried reworking parts of it several times and like a child that is flawed I still love it realizing the weaknesses. The painting is about a relationship I had (or more aptly put didn't have) at St. Mary's College. I was about 18 or 19 and I fell in love essentially for the first time.
Love for me was difficult. I really didn't want to be at anyone's mercy for any reason. It was a severe blow to my macho ego to feel like I didn't have control of my emotions, that someone had a power over me...and I hated it and fought it with every once of will power I had. Unfortunately the young woman of my desire had no idea I was fighting this inner battle. She probably though I was a creep or some kind of voyeur, who could look from a distance but not act. Clearly I was not cut out for romance and my procrastination angered me and probably scared her.
After a year of macho pandering, I decided that perhaps there was no escape, no way out but to finally address my emotions. So I decided that indeed I had fallen in love and I was a hopeless wreck. I would walk late at night into the darkness, into dense forests trying to confront my fear. I asked God for a sign and incredibly I received one. On one nightly sojourn the sky lit up and the answer was given to me: the answer in fact was the problem, it was one four letter word...love.
So now I knew, that love was the answer. Now what was the question? So the next morning I summoned up all the courage I could muster and got up early and went to breakfast knowing of course a certain girl would be there and as my timing is usually impeccable, managed to arrive two or three students behind her in the breakfast line. Strinking up a conversation with the student in front of me that happened to be a pretty girl I knew, I explained my encounter with destiny and the sign I was given. Of course I was at the same time talking to the girl who had stolen my heart. She heard and I could tell it created some magic for her but as usual I was unable to directly confront her and I could tell she really was puzzled by me- not necessarily in a good way.
Over the winter break (Christmas and New Year) I was give advice by a wise man who could see future. He told me she really loved me and that I was destined to be on the stage. This was seemingly odd advice because I had never even been on the stage and at the time had no inclination to be. With that advice and my inner frustration I decided I would confront her and tell her the reason for my odious behavior...I was in love with her. So I sent flowers to her parents and I waited. When we returned to school I boldly went to her dorm room and asked if I could walk her to class. During the walk I apologetically spilled the reason for my behavior. She didn't seem upset at all but I knew something was wrong. She said that I waited too long saying, "Why didn't you tell me this a year ago?!?" There couldn't have any kind of romantic relationship now she said.
I was already prepared for the worst but the words never made it any better for me. I made several other vain attemps to woo her but she was cold as ice. I found out through the grapevine she had a boyfriend and soon there was no hope... I had lost. I turned to art to assuage my broken heart.
The Battle of the Centaurs is about me (the white centaur) fighting her boyfriend (the red centaur). She is the red girl watching the battle, smelling a rose. He alter ego is in the shadow beckoning me saying, "I really love you not him." The blonde girl was a girl I knew that actually liked me but I wasn't interested in her. The blonde holds a butterfly representing freedom. As you can see I've been mortally wounded and am about to be pushed off the cliff to certain death.