Marion Zimmer Bradley published "The Forbidden Tower" in 1977, at the height of her writing career and popularity. This long book was in her tradition of melodramatic fantasy tales of forbidden romance and magical powers. The story culminates in a four-way sex scene, enhanced by euphoric drugs. I was commissioned to illustrate this by a romantic Darkover fan. This kind of "polyamory" almost always seems to work better in books than in real life. I created an ideal multi-love scene, using my (clothed) friends as models. It had to be, uh, not X rated, as I was going to show it at conventions. So the action is symbolic and portrayed in glowing soft tones. Marion Z. Bradley believed that sex was salvation, as many people do today, so I tried to create a kind of mystical magical glow for the scene.
The painting is acrylic on Masonite, 14" x 22", finished in January 1994.