Monday, May 9, 2011


I did this for a portfolio piece, and also to practice figure painting. I used a girly mag photo as my model, and was never pleased with my attempt to render the nude figure. However, I managed to get across the dopey quality of the heroine, who fornicated her way through planetary adventures wearing as little as possible. "Aleytys" was a creation of the late Jo Clayton, who mixed feminist allegory with cheesy pulp science fiction. Aleytys was an unknowing member of a super-race with psychic powers. She was "possessed" or perhaps "invested" with a magical piece of jewelry, the "Diadem," which also contained three other personalities (as represented by the ghostly pairs of eyes in the halo around Aleytys' head).

Aleytys, like countless other science fiction and fantasy heroes, had flaming red hair. Red hair is a feature which never leaves the sf/fantasy genre but returns again and again and again. Every author adds red-haired characters and usually first-time authors (females especially) give their heroine or hero red hair. It is a sign of special gifts and abilities as well as genetic superiority. Many years ago I wrote and published an article about it called "Red-haired Heroes, Brown-haired Losers." At one point I considered writing a humorous story about an ordinary-looking brown haired girl who finds she has magic powers once she dyes her hair red...but loses them when the roots begin to show.

"Aleytys" is acrylic on illustration board, 11" x 17", October 1982.

1 comment:

Rae Trigg said...

I think you should write that story (about the woman who gains powers when she dyes her hair red). It would be a wonderful pastiche of the type of stories you describe in this entry.