EAGLES SPRING DANCE
ACRYLICS ON POPLAR W/RED OAK FRAME
In the spring, the raptors would congregate at Cape Flattery as a resting place while on their northern migration. Driving to and from school we would sometimes see 20 or even 30 eagles sitting in the trees overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca or soaring overhead. Our spring “eagle count” became a yearly tradition for the whole family. On occasion and if we were lucky, we would see two eagles lock talons and fall to earth, letting go at the last second. Were they just playing, was it part of a mating ritual—we were not sure—but it was an amazing experience for us nonetheless. I needed to create a tall but narrow painting to cover the back of our refrigerator. It was too large for its space and extended out so that the back was visible from the living room. Not pretty. Thus, I decided to paint the eagles in such a way that almost any orientation would work. Actually, if a mechanism could be devised, you could spin the painting (like a propeller) and it would really be just like the interlocked eagles’ fall. Again the design is a mix of Northwest Coast Native formline with elements from The Book of Kells. The wings remind me of stained glass windows although that effect was not intended when I made the design. Looking through The Book of Kells the text inspired me to include my wife’s Johnston clan motto of Nunquam non Paratus---“Never Unprepared”---in the piece. It is a sentiment I share and believe strongly in as well. Finally, I added the cat and mouse for fun. In January of 2016 I added a new frame. I made the frame out of red oak using pegged, hand-joined, mortise-and-tenon construction methods. I used the Japanese technique (shou-sugi-ban) of charring and oiling the oak to finish the frame.
DIMENSIONS: HEIGHT: 75 inches
WIDTH: 16 ¼ inches