Monday, May 10, 2010

Visionary Artwork 3

In many traditions, birds are a symbol of the soul. Birds in flight have always fascinated me. I have managed to capture some images of birds in flight that to me represent the soul in flight. I've also made some Photoshop digital collages and art-pieces using birds in flight as elements.

White Bird/Badlands

This is one of the first pieces of visionary digital art I ever made. Probably circa 1996, although the photo elements date from 1993. Color monitors on which to edit photos were still new to consumers; the digital revolution was in its relative infancy still. I labored long and hard to make this image, with several layers in an early version of Photoshop.

Water Birds I

These two Water Birds pieces were made from photos taken around the lakes in Madison, WI. The mood is darker, more introspective. I remember making the photographs, then assembling the final images later. There is a process in just playing around in Photoshop during which you discover things almost by accident, which inspire you to combine things in new ways, and create new kinds of imagery. These are some of the first wave of digital art I ever made in Photoshop, in the mid 1990s, when the tools were still fairly new, and I was still learning how to use them. Much of the experimental digital art I played around with at the time was collages of adequate if not brilliant quality; and some of the roots of the digital art I make now began here, although my technique and the tools I use are by now far more developed and sophisticated. Still, it's interesting to look back on this old work, and see some of the same themes play themselves out. Some visionary art themes are eternal, archetypal, permanently embedded in the collective unconscious.

Water Birds II
(Click on image for larger version)

Birds and water together, in visionary art, can evoke the spirit moving over the waters. Therefore, the days of creation; the myths of the ancient sea out of which all life arose; the sea that is a creator goddess, still always living, in motion, in change, in process. A rumble of wings over the dark turbulent waters: the world in turbulent upset, shaking itself out, trying to come to some rest but not ready, just yet, for the settled rest that islands and the mainland offer. Far better to fly over these dark and brooding waters, still, staying in flight, for now, till we know where it will all end. The sound of wings. The rush of water. Life, death, forces much larger than ourselves and our mundane concerns.

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