Friday, December 12, 2014

New painting: Circle of life

Circle of life
This painting started with the chessboard pattern on the bottom half. It's a nature scene of birds in a few different life situations. There are two small birds towards the bottom (one brown, one gray) looking up at a giant mama bird cawing. There's a baby bird to the bottom right and an interloper of some sort to the top right. The two birds to the left are rolling on their sides laughing. 

The upper portion is distorted view of nature that consists of bird parts in the center (bird eyes, beaks, feathers and a bird wing bent backward just below the sun), a flying boy (top left), and two adult humans on their sides interacting (left). The bird(s) in the middle are not much more than a box of eyes and feathers covered over by a wing.

I play chess online and recently played a game where I had an opponent on the ropes early. There was really nothing he could do to turn things his way. It was a only question of time. Being in control of the game and watching my opponent scramble for safety was a good feeling. But being on the other side of that, being dominated and running scared, which happens all the time, sometimes leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth for the game of chess itself and I might not play for a day or two after. Of course, that's the lesson. If you wanna avoid that taste, you have to learn from your mistakes. 

I'm sort of fascinated with balance, equilibrium, ebb and flow, push and pull, in my pictures, in my life. I try to be disciplined and focused mentally and physically. I try to work out and eat right. I try to push myself and be consistent with whatever I do. When I make a picture, I'm looking for the right balance of color and shape, but I also want it to lead me a bit. This picture happens to be about the balance of nature, the circle of life. But it's also about appearances sometimes being deceiving, about a lack of balance, about one side perhaps playing a more dominant role over the other. 

I worry sometimes that the sad and painful sides of life affect me more than the positive sides. There are times when I think about a family member who's passed and I remember their last few days in the hospital more vividly than the years and years of good times. So this picture is also about how things may actually be balanced and at the same time be distorted, skewed, inaccurate depending on where you're coming from, what you bring to the table, how things affect you. The chess board pattern is part of that. It's widely agreed that the game of chess is not a balanced game. That while it looks balanced from above, one side actually has the advantage. White is always one move ahead. 

I'm not trying to be clever and make this painting mean more than it does or did when I painted it. I wasn't thinking all of this through. But I'm looking at it now and attempting to read into it. You might see something different. It might mean something different in your interpretation. I'm reading a good book about writing called Escaping into the Open by Elizabeth Berg. She said something interesting which I tried to follow writing about this picture that I'll end with here: 
"Seeing deeply requires a kind of telescoping vision: looking at the surface of something and then beyond that, and then beyond that." 
Okay. That's it for now. Have a nice Saturday.

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