"The Long Fall Back to the Center" - acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 16" x 20" x 1.5". Ready to hang (sides are painted; no need to frame. Hanging hardware attached). Available here and at Artfinder.
Tossed under the tree The cracked bones
Of the owl's most recent feast Lean like shipwreck, starting
The long fall back to the center-- The seepage, the flowing,
The equity, sooner or later In the shimmering leaves
The rat will learn to fly, the owl Will be devoured.
- from "Bone Poem" by Mary Oliver
The Long Fall Back to the Center
The thing about lost hikes (wandering places where few feet have been) is the preponderance of bones.
And the more my eyes are trained to see in the wilderness (shadows, hidden paths, lichens, scat, briars, poison oak, loose rock) the. more I see the bones. It seems they are there for me to find - messages from spirits long gone, reminders of the preciousness of life, invitations to get close to the center of everything.
On a recent hike, the bones of a juvenile deer lay strewn about near a dry creek bed. Dainty, delicate, decayed. She came home with me, this little one. Cleaned gently with bleach and soft brush. Dried in the sunlight on the kitchen counter. Weird? Maybe. Exquisitely beautiful - yes.
Her stark coloring inspired this painting, in which I set about to capture just the bones of an image.
About the art: I began using an old time photo as a reference (run through the Notanizer, of course) and selected a color palette from painting by Lita Cabellut (which reminded me of the bones).
I began with a 3 minute charcoal sketch and 5 minutes of shaping the composition with titanium white running into the charcoal. This video jumps off from there. Red, green, buff, titanium white and black charcoal. A tiny dollop of yellow ochre. Resisting the urge to overly define. Allowing the viewer's eye to complete portions of the figure. Liberal use of rubber wedge to carve back into the wet paint.
Finishing touches were not captured on video. That's what happens when the artist is in charge of the camera. :)