Wednesday, December 28, 2016

First painting in a series of eight ~ By All the Eagle in Thee, All the Dove

In my last post I wrote about the next series of eight paintings I will be doing for a show at the National Institutes of Health. Each of the eight will be based on a specific bird as totem. I chose the eight birds from those which Native Americans hold as totem animals. Other than taking the main idea of what those totems stand for, the rest of what I'll be using for inspiration will come from other sources as well as my own feelings about the subject and plain intuition.

As a Native American totem Eagle represents the power of the Great Spirit and the ability to live with a connection to spirit while remaining grounded and balanced on earth. As I painted I thought of the relationship of our sense of self with our higher mind as represented by earth and sky. I included the image of the eagle feather, a healing tool.

Another source of reference was a quote I found in Bartlett's when I looked up 'eagle'. In the 1600s English cleric and poet Richard Crashaw wrote a poem called The Flaming Heart Upon the Book of Saint Teresa (As she is usually expressed with a Seraphim beside her.) In this fascinating poem are the lines By all the eagle in thee, all the dove, By all thy lives and deaths of love... Crashaw was considered a metaphysical poet and an online edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica states that his poetry drew parallels "between the physical beauties of nature and the spiritual significance of existence". I felt this echoed the theme of earth/self/groundedness and sky/spirit/higher mind. That is how the dove came to being in the painting.

This painting is 24" X 18" X 2" and uses acrylic, charcoal, ink, paper collage, leaf fragments, colored pencil, prints and stamps.

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