Over the past 11 years that I’ve set up at art festivals, one comment I hear more frequently than others from people who stop to chat about my art is the strong personal connection they have with a specific animal or bird. They think of it as a totem or a spirit animal guide for themselves or for a loved one. And, for several months now, this theme keeps popping up in my life so I’ve decided to follow the clues, if you will. In preparation for my upcoming exhibit, “The Wild Within/The Wild Without”, my focus is on the “wild within” aspect while my co-exhibitor, Rosemary Conroy will focus on the “wild without” side of things.
Each piece features an animal or bird in motion, as though it is moving into or out of the painting from the shadows. I’m deliberately keeping the backgrounds dark or else very soft and/or shadowy to keep the focus on the immediate animal or bird. Since I’m accustomed to painting (in great detail!) the environment in which an animal or bird is found, I’m finding this rather challenging and regularly remind myself to keep the background undefined. Easier said than done! Notice the hawk (above right) is about to launch itself out of the painting, the otter (top left) appears about to slide down into the water beyond your view and the mountain lion (right) is slinking off the side. And that is how we often see wildlife in real life. It’s an unexpected glimpse or a quick moment when you least expect it and then they are gone. You are left with a feeling of wonder and excitement from experiencing it. It becomes a treasured memory of being in the right place, at the right time.
I hope my paintings for this show will resonate with people for these reasons and maybe one of these paintings will walk or fly off my walls and onto yours! If you want to see the finished paintings, please go to my website and sign up for my E-newsletter. I’ll be sending out a special “preview” of all the finished artworks that make the final cut in my April E-newsletter before the exhibit opens to the public.