“THE OWL’S PALETTE” oil, modeling paste and Mulberry amate bark paper, 30”X30”
“MAPMAKING CROW” oil, modeling paste, 24”X24”
“Mapmaking Crow” and “The Owl’s Palette” were next in my series of painting exploring birds and other living creatures. They were inspired by an experience I had this last spring, at my home studio, which happens to be set in a beautiful suburban forest. While painting, I was summoned outside by the hoo-hoo-hooting of the Barred Owl calling for a mate.
There she was, resting in our cedar grove, like some kind of ancient alien being. Face-to-face, we stood and stared, locking eyes with one another. With a hushed gaze, I admired this wondrous creature and felt a calming groundedness envelope me.
However, it was not too long before a crow and her black feather friends also became alerted to this Barred Owl’s presence. I later learned that the owl and crow are archenemies, and the crow’s cawing made it quite clear that owl was far too close for comfort within this crow’s home territory.
I feel grateful for the treasures in the midst of my day-to-day experience, which graciously call my attention to the beauty and sympathy of all things. I see these paintings as a kind of call and response with Nature, much like a bird’s call to mate, or a singer’s harmony with the voice of a choir. The paintings represent my relationship and conversation with the natural world.
The painting, “Mapmaking Crow” contemplates our fundamental personal search for meaning within metaphors of territory, mapmaking, astrology and cosmology. The composition has a relationship between light and dark, much like a yin/yang symbol holds the severe contrast of black and white in unity. The painting depicts a silhouetted crow on a fern-green spiral, seemingly contemplating the universe, where an egg-like map is framed and diagonal to a twelve-petal astrological mandala.
“The Owl’s Palette” renders a Great Horned Owl majestically sitting on a tree stump. A full harvest moon shape haloes her while she engages the viewer in eye-to-eye contact.
An autumnal Japanese maple leaf pattern is repeated throughout, with the Owl nestled between the planets, Jupiter and Venus, and an artist’s palette of egg-shaped colors.
To see a video of this bird siting go to https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhohz4-hres/
oil with black lava medium paste, 30”X30”
After visiting Portland’s Audubon Society and meeting a wounded resident bird, Jack Sparrowhawk, an American Kestrel, I was inspired to start a new painting featuring this majestic orange and blue falcon in flight. Shortly there after, I was called to travel to attend the headstone unveiling ceremony, for my dear departed nephew, Sean.
“The Unveiling” chronicles the vestiges of a journey, in which I experienced a wave of synchronistic moments that seemed precognitive of the imagery within my painting and echoed the threshold event of my nephew’s ceremony.
The painting’s composition is window-like. It frames a sequence of circumstances and tells a story of a liminal space where creation and death meet and are unveiled.
There are numerous cryptic pictographs used in the painting, including a thickly painted magic symbolic seal, smeared across the sky, to represent the archangel of annunciation, Gabriel. A Chinese character representing Dragon is inscribed on the black-lava flecked epitaph, in the foreground. A dove-like presence watches, hovering and touching an astral stream below, as an American Kestrel illuminated, rises in flight from the headstone.