"Callisto turning into a Bear", watercolour pencils on coloured pastel paper, 88cm diameter, Charlie Kirkham 2015.

Callisto Turns into a Bear

After painting the narrative of Diana banishing Callisto I wanted to illustrate the story of Callisto as she was turned into a bear by Juno. The end of the story sees Callisto and her son Arcas placed in the sky as constellations. Even after being placed in the sky Callisto’s punishment is not over. The two Bear constellations never dip below the horizon to refresh themselves with water. That’s why they can be seen all year round.

"Diana and Callisto", oil on canvas, 25x36", Charlie Kirkham 2015.

Diana and Callisto

I love mythology and story telling. Lately, having been spending a lot of time working from History Paintings in the National Gallery, I have tried to approach my own work in a new way. The idea behind this painting comes from Ovid’s¬†Metamorphosis.¬†It’s quite a complicated story so I have reproduced it below: Often, as Jupiter came and went, he would stop short at the sight of Callisto, a girl from Nonacris, feeling the fire take in the very marrow of his bones… she was one of Diana’s companions…Jupiter, seeing her there weary and unprotected, said ‘Here, surely, my wife will…