Oil, 36" x 24", October, 2004.
This is a kind of alien nightclub scene. I was thinking about the other-worldly hangout La Hampa that appears in my novel Mathematicians in Love. Also of the classic Toulouse-Lautrec poster, Moulin Rouge. That’s a star frog in the limo on the right. The jellyfish are based on Belousov-Zhabotinsky scrolls, which are one of my favorite types of cellular-automata-based computer graphics.
When I came to write these scene, I didn’t in fact stick very close to my preliminary painting of it. But here, just for fun, is the way the written version turned out:
“Rowena’s verdant island domed up from the water, the very image of a tropical hideaway. Thickets of red-blooming shiny-leaved bushes lined the shores amid stands of succulent broad-leaved stalks dangling purple flowers and clusters of bananas; higher up the island’s slope were gnarly lop-leaved trees bearing heavy oval breadfruits and ivory blossoms; the island’s summit was crowned by tall, swaying palms. Springs trickled from the dark soil; ferns and fat-leaved epiphytes nestled in the tree crotches; vines twisted about the mossy trunks; bright birds fluttered from branch to branch.
“We followed Rowena straight through an inlet into a calm lagoon with sand on the bottom and a smooth rock ledge at the shady far end. I saw a fire in a pit back there. Waiting on some comfortably curved rocks by the fire were six aliens: Rowena’s cone shell sister, the two big cockroaches I’d seen in my mirror, a pair of man-sized lizards, and a flat white mollusk with a crest of branching tendrils. This last creature resembled a six-foot-long sea-slug of the type called a nudibranch.”