A couple of weeks ago, after discussing the Syrian Refugee crisis with my 8 year old daughter, Harper, she told me she wanted to do something to help.Read More
I love getting commissions to draw Cardinals. The pop of color they bring to a piece always creates a nice sense of emphasis. Other than that, I appreciate the Cardinal for the symbolism they bring to a work of art.
Native American tradition believes that since the Cardinal is a monogamous bird, seeing one is a symbol of loving relationships and harmony. We have a pair that live in a tree on our property. We spent a good amount of Spring this past year watching from the window as they carefully built a nest and welcomed a little family. The pair would sit on neighboring branches singing to one another and carefully helping their fledglings learn to fly. It was a beautiful experience I'm glad we were able to witness first hand.
The modern connotation of the Cardinal is a little different. While it still emphasizes loving relationships, many now associate the sight of a Cardinal as a visitor from a loved one that has passed. The appearance of one is presumed to bring with it a reminder that those who have died are still watching over the living.
I was contacted to complete this piece for a client that wished to symbolize the passing of her two grandparents. I liked the imagery of the elderly hands letting go of the cardinals from the white circle, as if their souls once again found freedom in the material world with the release of the birds. The idea is comforting.
Maybe, just maybe, those two birds who I spent hours watching last Spring were the souls of my grandparents. It's nice to think that after a childhood spent watching the birds with them, that they come back for me to watch over. Comforting, indeed.
This 11x14 drawing was completed with Prismacolor Colored Pencils on Strathmore 400 Series Paper.
I've started something new, a composition that's a little different for me. I'm still using my favorite hand and bird symbols, but I wanted to stretch a little further while still attempting to stay simple. The idea formed from a need to stitch together a visual representation of childhood, or at least how I view my own children's lives. I like its direction so far.
One of my students approached me as I was working on this last week and remarked that they couldn't believe the amount of time I was investing in the drawing. "I could never spend that long on one drawing; I would get so bored." I replied that drawing can be like writing, some people like writing poems and others like writing novels, both are respected mediums, we all just have to decided which one is more appealing to our creative selves. No matter what length you are working with, you just have to make your story worth telling.
Here's to hoping this is a good story.
"People who don't cherish their elderly have forgotten whence they came and whither they go." - Ramsey Clark
To see what my Wisdom for Harper book is all about, go here.
I was fortunate to grow up with my maternal grandparents always close by my side. They taught me more than just the names of birds and a deep love of glazed donuts. They taught me to seek out the wisdom of the aging, to listen to the experience contained in every wrinkle of their smile. I carried this with me as I worked as a nursing assistant in a nursing home throughout college. I primarily worked with Alzheimers and Hospice patients, and was often engaged in the stories and wisdom of the people I cared for.
It is my hope that Harper, too, can find value and a deep respect for the wisdom of her elders.
This work was completed in a Strathmore Tan Toned Sketchbook with Prismacolor pencils, micron pens, Koi Watercolor Brush Pens, and white Gell Pen.
I went to an estate sale a few weeks ago and found this bust beneath an overgrown willow tree on the side of the property. I was struck by the haunting beauty it possessed despite its appearance; cracks meandering through the features as its bottom half crumbled into the thick ivy below. And yet, there was something in the downcast eyes of the figure, a quiet assurance as if she had lived through a battle and persevered against the weight of her journey. I identified with the personification of her in multiple ways, and sought to create an image that would demonstrate a need to take care of oneself in times of insecurity and uncertainty.
Being the lover of wisdom that I am, two quotes kept ruminating through my head as I worked.
"These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them."
From Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven
"But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
This 18x24 drawing was completed with graphite on 110lb Canson drawing paper.
I went to an estate sale last week and found this bust in the yard under a large willow tree. I love the contradiction it possesses in its multiple states of break down.
I have big plans for this piece, I'm excited about its slow moving progression.