Saturday, November 7, 2020

Finding the Menace in the Ruins

Inspiring Photo
 On October 23, 2020 while visiting our burned property, I captured a photograph of a tiny wren sitting among piles of metal pipes, metal roof and other ruins.

This photo said so much about how I was feeling as I faced the remains of our home:

  • I escaped the fire as did this little bird.
  • My home is now in piles of neutrals.
  • There is some life among the ruins.
  • Perhaps there is beauty and hope among the remains.

So I took this picture and did a quick study. I was hoping to create abstracted patterning of shapes and lines in neutral colors. Seated in the forefront I placed a rather realistic wren. I finished the study with a black felt tip, cleaning up and containing the shapes I had painted.   

I was not thrilled by this study, but I saw its possibilities. My own critique--The bird is too realistic for the more illustrative lines. The upper grays with light background are too eye catching. It doesn't portray the entirely ruined  home. It doesn't feel ominous, which is the mood I want to create.

When I cropped the study, I felt better about the little bird and his importance in the smaller piece. I liked the lines and patterning in the bars of metal, and I started to feel a story there. "Watch out little bird."

So an idea flew into my head, thanks to a great photo I captured from our cat hanging over the top of the couch. After all, what is more threatening to this little wren than a cat. 

I got out my blue film to place the cat shape above the bird. I then drew an abstract patterning throughout the rest of the paper, making the line work smaller and smaller as went further into the background.

Once I had the piles of ruins painted, I had decisions to make. How realistic should the bird be? How light or dark should he be? What color should the cat be? (My cat is gray and fluffy.) 

As I looked at this piece for awhile, it came to me that the cat had to be black. Isn't that a long held symbol of evil, bad luck and omen of bad fortune or death. The FIRE!!

And finally, amber/orange eyes.

I'd love feedback and title suggestions.