Monday, December 01, 2008

Sneak Preview! Renewed call of the wild

As I get back into the swing of things, I decided to alter one of my Original Finger Paintings, Thar He Blows.

I've written before in this blog that if something stays in my studio for a while, and I'm staring at it, I'll probably end up changing it. Which is another way of saying, my art grows with me.

There are some pieces I won't change, of course, and then there are those that call to me to play with them--to evolve them into another image.

With Thar He Blows, I've used fish scales on the merman's tail for only the second time since I've been painting mermen. The first time was for a commissioned piece (The Merman's Kiss), on the direction of the collector.

Ever since that painting, though, it's tugged at me--despite my assertion that mermen are purely mammalian and so have more dolphin-like tails (smooth)--I find the scales are attractive and add another texture to the image.

In addition to changing the tail, I've also changed the water, paying homage once again to the great Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai. I just love the way he paints water and I've adapted it to my own style.

Again drawing inspiration from Japanese prints, I've made the sky a delicious emerald, giving this a cool, oceanic blue-green feel. The haloing flying fish, surreal in burning orange and red, make me smile.

Circles, as a collector of mine noticed, are present in almost all of my work.

Anyway, I salvaged what I wrote last time about the conch shell for this post:

In my research for this piece, I discovered that conch shell trumpets exist in practically all cultures on all continents! I was going to base my trumpet off of a Tibetan one out of sympathy for the Tibetan people--conch trumpets were often used to signal a big event, such as a celebration, battle, or invocation of spirits--but decided instead to base it off of a species named after the Greek god Triton, one of the original mermen of myth. I did take liberties with the colors, though!

Besides the presence of conch trumpets in various cultures, it was fascinating to learn about its particular significance in Buddhism (and Hinduism), too, as one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols. Its sound is related to the voice of Buddha, calls Tibetan monks to prayer and religious meetings, banishes evil spirits, and does other good stuff.

Depending on the culture (and species), the mouth hole for the trumpet may be in the spire (pointy end) or the rounded end (this is where the Tibetans drill their hole). I admit to liking it in the spire (also known as the apex), and often see ancient carvings of mermen blowing their trumpets from that end, so that's what I went with.

And there you have it.
Invite Beauty,

I.

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