Friday, January 13, 2017
Fifth painting in series of eight ~ Ravenous
This is the fifth painting in the series of eight with the theme of birds as totems. This one is about Raven, who has a number of things in common with Owl (previous post). They share ambiguous reputations as being both admired and thought of as omens of death. Ravens are associated with Magic. They bring messages from the void, the darkness, the black hole of space.
I started the painting with the idea of the dark void in the form of a circle, a powerful symbol. Another aspect of Raven lore that stayed with me from what I read was the number of stories about Raven in different cultures that have him as a white bird which came into some unfortunate circumstance that turned his feathers black.
Below is what the painting looked like at one point. The feathered being is made up of feathers that are changing from white to black. Each feather is cut from a piece of paper and positioned with matte medium. The fish shape and the small white birds (notice they are in flight as opposed to my usual stationary birds) are also cut paper.
I felt that the painting was getting too explicitly detailed here and didn't match the abstraction of the first four, so I covered the part I was unhappy with...
The covering layer is painted wax paper. Going over this with oil pastel highlighted the cut out shapes underneath. I tore the wax paper away from the feathered being and the acrylic had transferred to the surface because of the matte medium I had used to secure the layer - a happy accident.
Sometimes when I work on a painting for a long time, making many changes, as I did this one, I get to a point where I feel that it is finished, even though I don't know why, and I have to trust that if I leave it alone to be what it is, eventually I'll connect with it. I'm hoping that is the case with Ravenous, so titled because I was inexplicably very hungry for much of the time the painting was in process. I think it's possible that Raven was working Magic on me, trying to get my attention, telling me to listen for messages from those old places.