Wing Span

This painting was 16 years in the making, but it all came together in one amazing instant this past August. Simply put, this is one of my best creations.

Five years ago when I started painting these, the idea came to mind that I would paint something some day for my dear friend David. Painting comes far more naturally to me than writing does (I wish I could write as easily as I paint), and I have always wanted to paint David something that not only represented him, but also represented my appreciation for his continued encouragement, compassion, and friendship. I could go on and on about what an inspiration he has been in my life, but words simply can’t do it justice, and you can’t just thank someone as wonderful as David for being in your life and expect that to be good enough. Besides, sometimes a picture can lock into place what we cannot encapsulate with words alone.

However, I was at a complete loss as to what to paint. How do you paint a single picture for someone who has had the greatest and most positive influence in your life? How do you capture Connection, Spirit, Inspiration, Wisdom, Encouragement, Enthusiasm, Validation, Non-duality, Inner-luminosity, Unconditional Love and Support, not to mention the all important 3-day corduroy trains-of-thought, into one single painting? So I put the idea on a shelf in the back of my head, dusted it off from time to time, and waited some more… and painted some more. I think I needed to find my own form and balance first, and then I’d be ready. I knew that the image would come to me eventually, and that would be the right time for the painting to be born.

It wasn’t until an email from David this past August that everything came together. It was then I knew the identity of the symbol I had been seeking. Well, to be honest I didn’t really figure it out – without knowing I had been on a 5-year quest to find the right symbol for him, David himself inadvertently blurted it right. “OH!” I said. And while doodling in a meeting at work the next day… there it was.

David is The Eagle. However the essence of this painting delves much deeper than just the mythical symbolism of the Eagle. Yes, the Eagle represents the Spiritual Connection to Higher Realms, Intelligence, Illumination, Healing, Courage, Protection, Strength, Bravery, Divine Spirit, Prophetic Knowledge and Renewal – and anyone who has met David knows the many ways in which he profoundly radiates all of those incredible traits. Yet there was still something even greater I wanted to convey. I wanted to capture Connection.

Since one Eagle is simply not enough to portray David that way I know him, there are 4 Eagles in this painting. The beaks of all 4 Eagles come to a point in the centre of the painting to form the heart of a flower. The petals of the flower extend outward to connect with the middle of each Eagle’s wing, which in turn connects with the Eagle’s wing on either side of it. The flower represents David’s overwhelming love of nature and his unremitting desire to constantly look for a better way to love the world. The centre of the flower also holds many meanings. Not only is the Heart of the painting (the Heart of a person who works in this world, but is not totally of it), but represents a circle for completeness, an all-knowing eye, and a Mapping Point.

David says “Only Connect.” I once took a slight variant on that and said “Always Connect”. All of the eagles are connected by their wingspan. If they don’t reach out, they don’t connect. The 4 Eagles are like humans from the 4 corners of the globe, all Connected by their likenesses as well as their differences. And by being Connected to One, they are Connected to All.

I chose the colours of green and blue for earth and sky, yellow for nature and energy, and the colour brown for soil, our grounding and our roots. The blue (a deep Prussian Blue, which I use in almost every painting I do) is not only the sky, but the universe, the Kosmos, the consciousness. In my entire repertoire of paintings, I have only used black once (see Pending Sun). Everything on this website that looks black, is either Prussian Blue or Van Dyke Brown. Black is too final for me. There is no further “through-ness” to it. I feel Prussian Blue is deeper than black.

The border is a further homage to David’s love of nature (the sun and the trees / mountains) and his conversations with them therein, as well as The Eye for his all-knowing, all-encompassing compassionate x-ray vision.

Not a huge playlist for this painting. Visually while painting I was accompanied by the DVD of To Kill A Mockingbird (again). Audibly, I went with the movie’s soundtrack, and a few other gems to help inspire this work:

  • Summer’s End – Elmer Bernstien (from To Kill A Mocking Bird)
  • Main Title Theme – Elmer Bernstien (from To Kill A Mocking Bird)
  • Bird Girl – Antony & the Johnsons (from I Am A Bird Now)
  • Heaven & Earth (Land Theme) – Kitaro (from Heaven & Earth soundtrack)
  • About Today – The National (from Cherry Tree)
  • Anthemoessa – Amethystium (from Emblem)
  • Always Connect
    Calgary, Alberta / October 26, 2006 / 18″ x 18″