Andrea's request. Forgive me, this might get a little dull, I'll try to keep it short and simple. No that's not true actually, I'm just going to spew it all out no matter how long it takes.
Technique: At the moment I'm loving Golden's fluid acrylic, along with an acrylic glazing medium. The results aren't like an oil painting, even though I do use some of the traditional glazing techniques of oil. It's a little more like egg tempera, lots of transparent, quick drying layers rendered with tiny brushes.
As for meaning, is this not the part so many artists hate? We want our work to speak to the viewer on a gut level, on an emotional level and for them to come to their own conclusions. Yet I've discovered, when I can't clearly articulate what a piece is about, it's usually because it's only decorative (which is fine, if that's my soul intent) or I don't really care much about it.
This painting I do care about, and I've felt a series building for some time in which this one is included. I realized after observing and studying birds and now other animals this past year, I find it difficult to remove the human presence from any art I create about wildlife. There isn't a species or area of earth that hasn't been transformed or affected by human activity and I have an urge to explore that reality in some way.
Breaking down the elements-
1.) I tried to find some moths to photograph at night, but came up empty handed. Late the next night, while I was deep in concentration painting, a huge moth hit the window in front of me. I went outside with my camera, but found nothing. It happened again, I went out to the window, not there. I have to say it was a bit weird, like it was (ooooo) a ghost moth. No prophesies please, I know crows and moths have the same negative superstitions surrounding them (death), but hey, really they're just nighttime butterflies.
Failing to find my ghost moth, I decided to paint this moth from a compilation of found images. It's part of the Saturniidae family and this one was common in the part of Eastern Canada where I grew up. These moths are usually large. They have no mouths or digestive tracts so can't eat. Their soul purpose after they emerge is to mate and lay eggs. They live a week of less. Something to put on your list of daily gratitutes - I am thankful I am not a Saturniidae moth.
2.) I met the barn owl at the rodeo, of all places. The Vancouver Zoo has a Birds of Prey exhibit and presentation that includes this young owl. It's handler was extremely nice while I took lots of photos. It's a stunningly beautiful creature and I knew I wanted to include it in a painting at some point.
3.) As for the last element, the hand. I love hands. They're the hardest part of the human body to paint because of their complexity. They are responsible for so much of our non verbal communication. I love their gestural quality, I love that they can wordlessly convey emotion.
I believe, in any art piece, the analyzing really comes near the end of the process. I had this image in my head, I wanted to do it and then started thinking of the 'why' after. I think that's what creative output is all about, a compulsive need to express something that is the unconscious amalgamation of your experiences, what attracts you, repels you, fascinates you. We make better sense of it later.
If you've read this far, and I don't blame you if I've bored you to unconsciousness, I'd love to hear what drives you creatively, what it is you're needing to explore, themes, colours, ideas, materials.... anyone?