Thursday, December 26, 2013

Raven: Memory & Dream

A few weeks ago I found a bunch of my old sketch books, particularly from RISD (my college years). So I got lost going down that rabbit hole, finding sketches and ideas I hadn't explored in over 12-15 years.

But I actually on a quest to find a particular sketch that's been at the back of my brain for a while.  It was a quick sketch I had done of some ancient Celtic art - that either was on exhibition at the RISD Museum or some other place I had visited - of a raven holding on to a circle. And I found it.

I have long been fascinated with crows and ravens - and their roles in myths across the world.  These ideas had blended in my head with the more modern interpretations of author Charles de Lint in his work. One of the key connecting threads is that the Raven is a keeper of memory and dream - or a transporter of such.

In the last 8-10 years, I have explored the subject more through dance than visual art, so it was time to get back to that drawing and see where the painting would take me.  I worked on it over the course of several days, on a 5" x 5" panel of clayboard with a mixture of first ink, then acrylic.  I'm pretty pleased with the result, but I'm going to explore it again on a larger scale with more mixed media soon.

This piece has already found a new home in a private collection. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

"I Am Freer Than You."

I spent most of the Fall being on tour, then getting married, actually going on a real vacation for our honeymoon, and then recovering from it all - so not exactly the right environment for making art and blogging about it.

However, I was deeply inspired with everything I saw on our travels - in the South, New Orleans, Monterey, CA, and Arizona - and now we are mostly home for the next several months, which means time to make art! And write about it!  And in the last few weeks, I have been busy reacquainting myself with my studio and making paintings.

One of the first pieces is a portrait of a barn owl, sporting a set of antlers.  It is a 5" x 5" acrylic painting on clayboard masonite.

While in North Carolina, Nathaniel and I got to visit with our friends Kambriel and Curse, who took us to a raptor sanctuary - which was truly wonderful. There were ravens and magpies, vultures and hawks, and of course - owls. Including some of my most favorite - the barn owls!

So when I sat down to paint, I knew one of the subjects had to be a barn owl. And as I started work on this little painting more, she asked me for antlers.  Perhaps a strange request (and as other people pointed, perhaps impractical?) but when an owl asks you for horns, you don't say no.  This is how I roll.

Interestingly, while teaching a myth-based workshop on Saturday, I remembered a dream I had about 2 years ago, where I was being taunted by a large owl (something of a mix between 3 breeds, it kept shifting) with antlers - who, as he flew away said, "I am freer than you! You will never be as free as me!" or something to that effect.

Well, a lot happened in my life since then, so perhaps he was just trying to push me, versus being a sort of annoying soothsayer.  However, I don't believe this owl lady here is of the same ilk.  There's something more peaceful and knowing in her gaze, and the background is calming.

And she is the first piece I have decided to finally put on etsy...only have had a store sitting empty for a couple years if she speaks to you - you can take her home!