Friday, August 7, 2009

After the Rain
31 x 47
oil and copper leaf on wood

The pheasant carries a rich history of symbolism throughout many cultures. In Chinese culture, the radiant golden pheasant, with its flaming red and yellow feathers, is thought to be the source of the legend of the phoenix. It is also regarded as a symbol of nobility and associated with high-rank in political office and civil service.

Native American lore considers the pheasant a symbol of protection and concealment. These birds are also symbolic of male sexuality because of the attractive males of the species, which makes sense, since they are related to peacocks.

The pheasant has always been a favorite bird of mine and I remember the joy of seeing them run wild in the fields of Tuscany a few years back. It was only this year that I became brave enough to dive in and attempt to paint my favorite bird. I was inspired by a painting my grandfather, Morris Weis, created in 1974 of a ring-necked pheasant, which now proudly hangs in our home. Morris was a house painter by trade, but was always creative. He only made three paintings during his life and the pheasant below was one of them. It was a major influence on me becoming an artist as I grew up with this work of art.

Pheasant by Morris Weis
26 x 20
oil on wood

Morris had no training in the arts, he only had a desire to create with his hands. This painting is built up with texture in the grass and even the grain of the plywood comes through, adding a sense motion to what could have been a very static painting. The frame was made from old fence planks he found and lovingly mitered and oiled to fit the picture. Morris was a rebel in his own, quiet way. He didn't have a lot to do with people and what society offered, mostly he felt, was a lot of bull. He found happiness in building boats, furniture, and the occasional painting. I miss Morris dearly and "After the Rain" is my gift back to him.

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