Explanation of an Older Painting

stormbirdsSomeone recently wrote asking me to contribute some art to a book they want to publish in memory of their brother who died of a heart defect. Proceeds from the book will raise money for a scholarship to benefit future artists. He asked me what my Stormbirds piece was about. I felt like sharing it here too:

I did Stormbirds so long ago that I don’t exactly remember why, but I can give you my current idea behind it. Waves in my art represent numerous things. They could represent cleansing, joy, trepidation, fear, beauty, form and structure, or even chaos to name a few things. They represent our connection to the earth and God and the surfer is the participant in this beautiful madness.

In my original sketch for that piece I had a surfer surveying the scene, but I took him out in the painting wanting more to focus on the waves and birds. The observer would naturally put themselves there, and a surfer in the scene would have represented boldness and pressing on. Which at the time of the painting was an emotion I wasn’t feeling. In my earlier art I painted a lot of tidal waves and surfers confronting these other worldly surf conditions. I think at that time in my life I was facing constant change and new experiences, along with bouts of depression. These things came to fruition in my artwork.

The ocean is this thing that nurtured me in my youth and I love it, but I am also fearful of it. So in the Stormbirds piece it was a wave that was bringing devastation, and I think the birds represented no hope, darkness. I know this is a dreary description, but I think it’s important with my art to be real with my emotions of where I’m at. I have no problem with painting a perfect surf scene, but if that’s all I did I would be lying to myself, and I think the public would pick up on that falseness. Life has ups and downs and Stormbirds was painted when I was in one of those downs.

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