Another Time, Another Place
Each of the characters in this painting has at least one bird companion. From a pink flamingo, a feathered mask, a seagull ruffled by the breeze, a landing parrot and a racing raven to a majestic winged helmet, these avian avatars are part of the narrative.
What to do with the Plague Doctor's mask?
It just occurred to me in the last week - I'm sure because of the current circumstances - that the most distant figure is wearing a traditional gold and white Venetian Plague Doctor mask. I have a collection of Venetian masks, and I wanted to use one with a beak for this painting. I had no idea just how relevant it would be. Another time, another place, but so close to our own.
I find it interesting how the story evolves and deepens the longer you paint it. This mural-sized work certainly gives me plenty of time to shape the narrative.
As the first layer nears completion, and much of the white canvas disappears, I look forward to working on the details. The sky will lighten, become more luminous. The faces and bodies will, literally, flesh out. What now looks like a cartoon, in a way, will take on dimension and meaning.