NUTHATCHES' PINE HOME ACRYLICS ON CEDAR W/RED OAK FRAME FALL 2020
Throughout history and across cultures, birds have been frequently used as symbols. Whether as clan symbols or symbols representing human traits, bird images have been used in art to express specific meaning based on the shared knowledge of artist and viewer. In today’s urbanized society, we have lost much of that meaning as more and more people have become disconnected from the natural world. One of the joys of living closer to nature is the opportunity to observe the daily and seasonal behaviors of our local birds. One such bird that I love to watch is the red-breasted nuthatch. To me, nuthatches symbolize hard-working, industrious individuals who are feisty and courageous. Little birds, they are not intimidated by the presence of larger creatures like ourselves. Besides, they are just such attractive birds that I can’t resist painting pictures of them. The works of Japanese Rinpa painter Sakai Hoitsu were the inspiration behind this painting. Hoitsu’s Eurasian Jay and Chinaberry, part of his Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Seasons series, was very helpful in my composition. The pine branches on which the nuthatches perch were also inspired by the Japanese Rinpa style, as I used my version of tarashikomi in painting them. The design for the nuthatches was influenced by both Northwest Coast Native and Celtic art traditions. 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.