Monday, August 17, 2015
"Paracosm with an Injured Bird" at Haynes Gallery Show, "Celebrating Art of Women by Women"
Paracosm with an Injured Bird, oil, 15" x 24"
This new painting is part of the show "Celebrating Art of Women by Women" at Haynes Gallery in Thomaston, Maine, which opened on August 14th, 2015. (I've got one or two other paintings in the exhibition, including the "Pelican Squadron" painting I wrote about a little while ago on this blog.)
As I explained earlier on this blog, a paracosm is a fantasy world that you create for yourself, often involving characters with powers that often extend far beyond anything the real world provides for us.
I've been very interested in fantasy worlds lately and how they form us as children and shape our expectations, hopes and fears. I think they can be a two edged sword in that they contribute to a private, personal mythology, actively fostering creativity and possibly a deeper spirituality and reverence for nature; but they can also be a retreat and a trap to avoid reality, restrict the interaction with and compassion for other people and strangle the experience of the fullness of life, with all its stresses and heartbreak.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my own childhood fantasy worlds (I had quite a few) usually revolved around me being able to speak with animals and having them obey me. (I now have an unruly Corgi mixed breed rescue dog and I still have a fantasy that I will someday have him obey me.)
This painting touches upon a couple of themes I find very compelling. The woman is reading a book while resting her head against a reclining bird. I was halfway through this painting before I realized that I've painted something a little like this before, only instead of a bird, I painted a St. Bernard (see this). I wanted to incorporate a sense of caring and protection of beings which are more vulnerable than ourselves, although if I were to actually run into a flicker as big as myself I'm sure I would find it immensely powerful.
I've been interested in the interface between the animal world and the human race. I like the concept that there is knowledge being shared between the book, the woman and the bird. Somehow, touch unites them all.