EAGLES TWO-PANEL FOLDING SCREEN ACRYLICS ON LODGEPOLE PINE WINTER-SPRING 2018
BACK OF SCREEN
There is a special time of the year when winter slowly and begrudgingly gives way to spring. Trees slowly begin to bud, giving a reddish blush to their surroundings and a few even begin to blossom. Birds begin to migrate through the area on their way north. It is a time of new growth and renewal, but at the same time, winter demands its full share and reminds us with cold rains and even some snow that spring is not yet fully in charge. It is in this seasonal spirit that I painted my 2-panel folding screen. The simple, decorative back refers to the last of the winter and the first blooms of the plum tree. The more complex front emphasizes the migrating eagles as they perform their spring dance of locked talons. Although the front is strongly influenced by the great Native artists of the Pacific Northwest, both front and back designs owe much from the inspiration of Japanese painters Tawaraya Sotatsu and Ito Jakuchu. I wanted to paint the back in a simple color scheme of black with traces of gold. This was in tribute to the great monochrome ink paintings of the Momoyama Period. Jakachu’s Birds in a Blossoming Plum and White Plum Blossoms and the Moon were both sources of inspiration for my design. For the front, Sotatsu’s masterpiece Dragons and Clouds set the tone for the composition, even though the end design resulted in a pair of eagles rather than dragons. To emphasize the front, I used a common textile design called “scattered hemp leaf” for the border and executed it to resemble the iron-oxide underglaze painting from Japanese oribe ceramics. In painting the details for the eagle feathers, the execution of the painting was done in the spirit of those nameless “unknown craftsmen” (using Yanagi Soetsu’s terms) who decorated countless pieces of pottery with their loose brushwork. As this painting was designed as a free-standing, folding screen, no other frame was required.
DIMENSIONS: HEIGHT: 48 inches WIDTH: 48 inches
TAWARAYA SOTATSU DRAGONS AND CLOUDS left 6-panel screen