"The Watcher at Brandon Park"
36" x 36", acrylic on canvas
Last night I think I finally finished the painting you see here, loosely based on a photo I took last winter at Brandon Park, right down the street from me in Leesburg, Virginia. I remember driving home one gray, cold January afternoon, after dropping Kris off at work and seeing this enormous bird circling around the old local bowling alley right next to the park. Captivated by it and wanting to take a closer look, I made a u-turn back to the bowling alley parking lot, where the bird must've flown a few feet over my windshield, quickly and fearlessly. I couldn't believe I had nothing to take a picture of it with me, so I drove back home, grabbed a camera and returned, only to find the giant turkey vulture had found a nice place to perch among the trees and their endless, twisting and turning branches. In the nearby surrounding trees there were a bunch of smaller, black vultures, so I think something nearby was either dead or dying, though I saw and smelled nothing. Despite the company of the black vultures, this giant turkey vulture stood quietly and still on a broken stump, separated from the rest, like a ruler of his very own small kingdom. The photo directly above is a closer view of the bird in a cropped, horizontal format.
The painting itself, which measures three square feet was worked on in equal measures at home and in my grad painting course, which unfortunately ends for me next Tuesday evening. I have some crazy classes at work during the day Tuesdays, leaving me nearly exhausted by three, but I always looked forward to that grad class, getting recharged, fired up and painting and being around fellow art teachers who were also artists, serious about their work, feeding off everyone's energy and feedback. Now I feel like I need to discipline myself to keep at it and continue to build a good body of work, which, depending on how you look at it, is inconsistent and somewhat unfocused (if you don't count the Splotch Monsters). During the course of this class, I rediscovered a love for painting nature, and I feel like I'm developing a real voice. Like this painting itself, it's all a real slow, gradual process, and when you think you've gotten to a certain point, you later realize there's much more to go. I loved painting large and if I had more space, would go even larger, but for now, this might be as big as I can afford to go, in terms of both space and money. I'm looking forward to seeing this piece in an upcoming local art exhibit real soon, which I'll be sure to cover here at the blog. Stay tuned!