Sunday, January 22, 2017

Seventh painting in series of eight ~ On Our Own

This painting, the penult in the series of eight based on birds, is about Grouse. Grouse is a secretive little bird, close to the ground, camouflaged under the leaves by her dappled plumage. She is content to remain quiet and secluded unless she feels that a threatening thing has gotten too close, and then she will explode in a ruckus of flight. I can relate to that.

Grouse's mate is a splendid dancer and swirls around in beautiful spirals to get her attention. It has been a long time since I could relate to anything like that, but I do recognize the spiral as a symbol of power; of birth and rebirth; of renewal and creation.

With this painting I was thinking of these two parts of Grouse's story: the undercover aspect plus the dynamic movement of the spiral. Quiet introspection and movement, particularly walking, helps me feel more balanced in body, mind and spirit. On introspection: one of the books I have been using to research ideas for this series is Animal Messengers by Regula Meyer. The author suggests that Grouse offers us a new beginning concerning how we feel about ourselves. Like the singular bird, independent in her well-hidden nest, we can be honest with ourselves on our own terms and recognize that we are our own best advocate. If we don't depend on others to tell us who we are we can do what we do out of our own conviction, finding contentment in our own authenticity. Okay, that being said, I find it difficult to not depend on affirmations from others to feel that, for example, my paintings are valid. I want to know that they are reaching someone other than myself. But for this painting I did try to put that aside and work from my true self. Not sure I did that, totally, but I did think about it. The movement part; that is depicted with the spiral. In fact, I traced the Golden Spiral for the composition. The spiral shape got painted over at least ten times in different color combinations which distorted the proportions of the original figure. In the end I resorted to my fondness of white negative space enhancing a strongly contrasting field of color. The patterns in each (now distorted) section of the spiral are collage, painted paper. The 3-D bead-like additions are cut up straws wrapped in painted drafting tape. This is the only painting in the series that has a representation of the actual bird it is about. I like the shape of Grouse in profile, so she appears, tiny, in the emerging center if the spiral.

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