This painting combines several ideas that I have visited before in my imagery: birds, terrariums, and landscape. However, by bringing those elements together in an invented space I have done something new for me right now.
The result - I now have more questions then answers about where I'm going with my imagery. I definitely see this as a transitional piece.
In the MFA program I am currently enrolled, I get a lot of thoughtful feedback from inside the art school world. This work was a part of my presentation to my critique group yesterday. So, I'm curious, from outside that environment, what ideas do you read in this work?
It's been rainy. This year's total rain to date in the Philadelphia area has already surpassed our annual average by 2 inches and it's only early October. In fact, as I write we have another flood watch from the remnants of Hurricane Michael.
I painted this scene in Wayne, Pa in May. The Wayne Art Center hosts a renown annual, week-long Plein Air Festival and with that they organized an open, one-day "paint-out." The rules were to start painting after 6 am, paint somewhere in downtown Wayne, then turn in the work (framed) by 1pm the same day. With such limited parameters, one generally cannot pick the weather. That day I woke up to the sound of heavy downpour, but I packed my things and started my 40 minute drive anyway. Thankfully by the time I arrived it was not longer actively raining. Working in watercolor...on paper... doesn't work too well outside when it's raining. However, it was still so dark due to the heavy cloud cover that the streetlight was on. This and the reflections in the puddles really set a mood that resonated with me.
When I turned in my painting I saw the other 20 or so other paintings that were also painted in Wayne that morning. I was a bit surprised to see so many sunny scenes! I know that we artists are skilled in creating light sources in our work and that higher contrast is generally more pleasing to look at, but, call me crazy... I happened to find that the most interesting feature of the scene was the weather.
I hope that someone who looked at that hallway of paintings understood. My poor "Morning Rain" among the work of all those sunny-day painters probably looked pretty sad. Finding beauty in the rain is not terribly common, but especially in this extra rainy year, I hope you can see it.
P.S. Morning Rain is still available at Borelli's Chestnut Hill Gallery.