I just finished this painting, and am fascinated by how it turned out. The process of painting is so organic for me: far more wildly right brained than writing is. I start with a canvass, and just push paint around. I let the background sit for a couple of days, there on my easel in the middle of the room. I allow it to saturate my subconscious. I think about it in the still moments when Iâ€™m nursing Bean, or rocking him to sleep, or when Iâ€™m lying in bed just at the cusp of sleep myself. If Iâ€™m attentive, images will often alight on the cinemascape of my mind. Iâ€™ll see stalky bird legs, or a particular wash of color. Or I might pick up on a mood.
Days go by this way. Until I find the right image to follow, and then I do.
In this painting the colors of the background were so moody, I struggled with how to extend an image beyond their sheer rawness. I wanted this piece to be another in the series Iâ€™m making for upcoming cafÃ© shows, so I wanted to stick with the theme Iâ€™d chosen of juxtaposing organic and inorganic; detail and chaos.
Flipping through the bird book DH gave me for Valentine's Day (along with a pair of incredible binoculars! Yes weâ€™re like that. I gave him a telescope. And no, we didnâ€™t discuss our presents in advance. Thatâ€™s just how we think.) I found myself lingering over the image of the great blue heron: so majestic, wild, fierce, lonely.
After Iâ€™d made the bird, the dark city landscape evolved to go behind it. I was writing about dislocation and creating home at the time, and these ideas became the narrative of this painting.
In Connecticut, where I used to live and work, Iâ€™d drive along 95 and Iâ€™d feel heartsick at the trash, the urbanization, the acres of cement overrunning coastal wetlands and marshes belonging to egrets and herons, red tailed hawks, grebes, and mallards. Now Iâ€™m living northwards by several hundred miles and things seem more in synch. There are wide swaths of open space designated for the birds. Along the sandbar heading towards the islands in Lake Champlain, and huge osprey aeries sit atop telephone poles every mile or so.
But I canâ€™t help feeling like somehow itâ€™s up to me to be a part of making this last. Itâ€™s easy to feel entitled. Easy to say, â€œthis is my land.â€ Harder to make actions reflect the fluttering wonder of my heart.
I am interested: what choices do you make consciously to protect the natural habitat where you live?