Saturday, February 21, 2009
Girl With a Bird
"Girl with a bird she found in the snow
that flew up her gown, and that's how she knows
that God made her eyes for crying at birth
then left the ground to circle the earth"
'Boy With A Coin', by Iron and Wine
Part of my series last year, a part that did not go into the final show, was a painting that included the first two lines of this Iron and Wine quote. It was a piece that was based on pregnancy, and another reason why I needed that frontal view of the model's belly. But at the time (and still) I was struck by the sadness in the melody of this song. What I enjoy about Iron and Wine in general, is that their songs give me a very earthy feel when listening. Boy With A Coin in no different, but whereas the emphasis is on the boy (from other lyrics/title in the song) I found that I was most drawn to the idea of the girl with a bird.
Right away, I thought of the Angel Gabriel and Mary (because of my Catholic background). The Annunciation. It's a perfect fit, where imagery is concerned; a bird that flew up her gown and that's how she knows. So I was ultimately painting about the innocence, and magic of pregnancy. And I was immediately charmed by the innocence of the model, even though she was older than I. She had a definite purity while pregnant, but she seemed a bit sad or lost. She gave me the impression of melancholy...like the sad melody of this song. She became, over the weeks, holy or sacred in my eyes, a modern day stand-in for Mary, if you will. In the end, she was even more; I think she became Earth incarnate.
And I don't think it's just a coincidence that I happened to run into this model (and her children) again at the Urban Ecology Center on Valentine's day either. Mother Nature, indeed.
Painting her pregnant, seeing her, has really made a huge impression on me. I think it always will because it was such a magical, rare experience for a mere 10 of us in that figure painting class. It was a great opportunity and joy to be able to paint her; a really special time period of my life.
So, I did complete several versions of 'Circle The Earth' for the Sanguine show, but I was not happy with any of them. Maybe one day I will get it right. But today, I wanted to hear that specific Iron and Wine song, and I found this video. It was interesting that despite its title, the video shows all women, as well; really beautiful, dancing women. I'll most assuredly continue to think of women whenever I hear Boy With A Coin now.
Circle the earth.