Thursday, April 12, 2012

Passenger Pigeon

12 x 12" oil and enamel on canvas panel.

(Left) Passenger painting after first sitting. The return to canvas also marked a return to palette knife techniques, which I haven't employed in quite a while.

I've been fascinated by the Passenger Pigeon ever since hearing the journal entries of John James Audubon who describes their mating rituals and great power of flight. Of course the Passenger Pigeon was a highly successful species of bird that was relentlessly hunted to extinction by 1914. The physical descriptions describe it as a rather handsome, blue tinted dove with a orange breast and the specimen on view at the Harvard Natural History Museum is truly great.

The white dots allow for further exploration of religious/mystical shape symbolism, this time describing a radial symmetry, while suggesting a circle, which is present in the 'Our Lady' paintings as well. A friend of mine suggested that it also resembles a target, which is also rather apropos. The dots once again manipulate space by appearing to float above the image; simultaneously flat and adding dimension at once. I want this to be an arresting image, one that changes and surprises as you look at it, and I think it accomplishes these things nicely.

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