Air Element is the final painting of my element series, it joins the water, earth and fire paintings that I’d done in the last few months. I spent a week just mulling over how to show the air element in a painting. I thought about doing a sky scene with butterflies or some sort of birds flying about. I researched air elemental myths, they are called sylphs, from what I could tell these beings look like wispy cirrus clouds and move about through wind currents helping to clean the air. I liked that idea. Once I thought of wind currents, I decided to have flying birds in the painting.
One thing I love about painting is it inspires me be more observant. That evening as I walked through my neighborhood, I kept looking at the sky and noticing the dramatic clouds as the sun sunk lower. At one point I stopped and watched several swallows feasting on insects as they swooped through the air way up in the sky. I figured that was a sign and chose to do an evening scene with swallows and sylphs.
Swallows with their streamlined bodies and pointed wings are agile flyers adapted to feeding on flying insects. They mate for life and in modern times, the swallow is usually seen as a symbol of peace, respect, love, and loyalty. I painted the sky just prior to sunset with the clouds starting to light up and the sky darken and the wispy sylphs in the air currents while swallows soar through the air.
After last week’s more complex painting, I felt like painting something more whimsical and loose. As I was pondering what to paint, I happened to see a funny cartoon of Wile E. Coyote getting into trouble with the Road Runner and later that evening Joni Mitchel’s Coyote tune came up on my Echo; I love all her music and had not heard that fun song in years. We also have had plenty of coyotes in the hood, I’ve never seen one here but have heard their strange calls in the wee hours of the night.
With the decision made, I looked up the symbolism of the coyote. He is often thought of as a trickster, a joker, and even a shape-shifter, but is also revered in Native American culture as an important messenger of personal transformation, showing endings and new beginnings.
I thought it might be fun to paint a coyote in a fanciful colorful magic-like landscape and Wily Coyote is the result. I’m pleased with the way he is looking at the viewer as if he knows something we don’t.
Next week my husband and I are heading to Seattle for my niece’s wedding. Its definitely a time of a new beginnings for my niece and also for her older sister who is days away from her second child’s birth. We’ll be there for a just under a week with all my sisters and the nieces and nephews. Our daughter will fly in from Japan, luckily her internship ends two days before the wedding date. We’re so looking forward to being with her and hearing all about her experience there. Not sure that I’ll be able to start another painting before we leave but am looking forward to new inspiration of being in Seattle during this exciting time with our extended family.
A few months ago I learned that a flock of crows is called a murder. That captured my attention and I decided that at some point I would paint a murder of crows. I love crows and have painted many through the years. Whenever I’m out and about and spot a crow I get the feeling that they have spotted me also and are closely watching. Maybe for that reason they seem intelligent, social, and somewhat mysterious to me. After last week’s tighter still life painting I felt like doing something looser, a perfect time for this painting.
In A Murder of Crows I wanted to show a lot of movement and layers of colors through the sky and tree branches as if the crows were flying in in out of different dimensions. I tend to wonder if they can see colors and dimensions that we are not aware of yet. Scientist say dragonflies and cats can perceive more than humans and they are now learning that trees communicate to each other through their roots. It’s all very intriguing to think about the miracle and wonder of our natural world.