Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Fruit Bat Water Bottle" -- oil on canvas -- 28x39"
Last weekend I decided I just HAD to paint bright red! Bright yellow! Something other than the pervasive sour owlshit brown and icy, gloomy SE Michigan landscapes. I really hadn't painted a large still life in quite a while, and I was itching to do so. I'm still working at Ford Wixom during the day, so I only get to work on paintings a couple hours in the afternoon, while the light still holds. It's painted on a custom-size canvas I prepared to fit into an ornate, antique, gold-gilded frame I rescued from a consignment shop.

The central figurine was a clay reproduction of a fruit bat water bottle that I haggled for while on my last Peru trip. Our group had been on a tour, studying the customs of the north coast shamans and visiting the various ruins. I fell in love with the pottery! My only regret was that I didn't buy more of these odd, interesting vessels. But alas, there's only so much you can stuff into a suitcase.

The two large, black feathers are condor feathers. I bought them from a shaman's assistant, who assured us the condors were not harmed in any way. He knew families who lived up in the mountains, in the area where the condors nested. We learned bits about how to use the condor feathers in ceremony.

The conch shell is the weirdest conch shell I'd ever seen. That came from a redneck garage sale a few blocks from my house. I've used this shell in a number of paintings. Just love it!

That's a genuine black panther figurine from the 50's. I bought that and the matching lamp at a garage sale last summer. I love it for its marvelous reflective qualities.

The succulent cactus is actually an epiphyllum I rescued from an estate sale last spring. The guy had dozens of them -- and they were all dying -- he never watered them, only misted them. I talked him out of this one (which was so dry it was brown!), brought it home and soaked it in my pond for 2 hours. Repotted it and now it's green and, as you can see, loaded with new growth. I'm waiting for it to set spectacular blooms!