Talk About Art

Meaning of the Crows      March 16, 2016

Messenger Crow

Many cultures view the crow as a messenger delivering messages for a number of reasons like peace, health, messages between the spirit world and the living, protection, and warnings.  When I draw or paint the messenger crow, the crow is always in flight depicting their ability to deliver messages between domains.

Shaman Crow

In certain cultures the crow is viewed as a shaman, an entity who is able to communicate with the spirit world, natural forces to aid in the healing of the sick, seeking help to protect humans, and promote harmony in the world. I draw Shaman Crows using a loose drawing style depicting the mysterious or spiritual beliefs of the Shaman Crow. The Shaman Crow in my art is always grounded to the earth but has access to the sky.   

Medicine Crow

Both crows and ravens are revered in some cultures as a bird of medicine or healing. A personal connection with a medicine crows is thought to help a shaman, medicine people, or healer aid in the healing process or works as a spiritual ally. When drawing or painting the medicine crow I use a loose drawing style depicting the spiritual beliefs with the wings spread to indicate their ability to deliver messages or healing powers.  

 

January 2016 Emerging Series

People ask me where the images come from or how long a series last. It is often not predictable about when a series starts and when it ends. What determines the life of a series is the evolution of the image or images. Series can start at any time and can be as short as a few pieces of work or the series could last for years.

The first emerging series is the study of crows. When I was living in Arizona in the Sonoran desert there was not much exposure to crows but plenty of vultures, coyotes, snakes, and poisonous insects. Moving to Oregon made me aware of the increasable complex life and social behavior of crows. Crows have been an intricate part of Native American and other cultures around the world and the subject of many myths, stories, writings, and folklore's. One thing is for sure, crows and ravens present a very social and complex society to study and observe. Throughout history, crows have represented messengers, shamans, healers, bringers of omens, creators of life, and the earth. They are mysterious, cunning, mischievous, and strongly bounded by family and clan.

My current work has launched into the study and research of crows and their rich history. The visual representation in my work is a pictorial story of the different sides of the crow. My working style is call gestural expressionism, meaning a form of gesture drawing using charcoal, pencil, and acrylic paint loosely representing the images in my work. The design and the coloration of the rest of the work is designed to promote emotion and feeling from the viewer.

My use of gestural expressionism can be seen in the crow landscapes series in the development of trees, plants, and bushes. Both the crows and the landscapes will continue to be developed as the images and concepts continue to grow and change. 

Gestural expressionism is my signature style used in every work of art. Being left handed means the strokes in each piece usually flows from right to left which I use to supports the gesture style of the work. Style is important to me because if you see a piece of work I did 10 to 15 years ago, you can see that same style in the work I am doing today. Looking at work from Van Gogh, Picasso, de Kooning, Dali, or Cezanne, it is the artists’ brush strokes or treatment of images from one painting to the next which makes the work recognizable even before you look at the signature on the piece of art.                     

October 2015

My work is collaboration between surfaces and mediums. My style has been called Gestural Expressionism because of the use of movement of line, shapes, and forms to convey the feeling of images and layered colors for emotion or depth to the image.

Drawing and painting is the act of feeling your way through an image translating a tactile experience using color, negative space, and different mediums into a visual experience. Viewing and interpreting art can be informal, meaning looking at an image and enjoying it simply because it is pleasant or interesting to look at. In contrast, formal interpretation requires a process of analysis of the work combined with critical and creative thinking. 

Interpretation of art starts with an opinion that can be as straight forward as liking or disliking the work. The analysis of the work can start with the why… why does the viewer like the work? Is it the color, texture, emotion or feeling, the image, or a combination of many factors? A component of the interpreting art is to understand what the artist is thinking or what motivated the artist to produce an image. The art could have been motivated by social, or political reasons or events. Those events could be personal, driven by a deep feeling, or the need to make a statement about an idea or issue that is important to the artist.  

Understanding the artist’s intentions can lead the viewer to form their own opinions of the work based on the viewer’s perception and life experiences. 

Keith