"In the Wild Plum - Nashville Warbler"
oil painting on canvas - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)
I was having one of those days last spring where I was in a funk of some sort, and Georgie came into the studio and said the plums were full of warblers and "Why didn't I get outside and take some warbler pictures!"
To make a long story short I gabbed a chair and sat under the plum across from the studio deck and photographed these little, almost hyper warblers catching tiny insects pollinating the profusion of blooms...come to think of it, I may have even blogged about it.
I had been working on other things at the time but while going through the files of warbler shots one caught my eye - a male Nashville Warbler "on the hunt"...the camera caught the small fly and the warbler's posture about to spring and catch it's prey...the photograph was "OK" but it needed something - I knew it needed painting.
Finally, in mid June I got around to stating the idea of this painting...I began by laying in the entire background of out-of-focus and blowing branches, trying to create some kind of movement of color and shapes. A couple of days into the piece I felt I did have something I needed to finish.
My Dad had just taken ill and I wanted to make a trip to see him, so I broke loose from the studio and headed to Ft Dodge - it had been raining A LOT and on the way I was detoured twice by water flowing over the county black tops I drove...it delayed me and when I arrived I found my siblings there at Dad's side; he was unconscious and slipping away.
We spent the day together there in our Father's room, trying to stay calm and together; later that night Dad left us as I was talking to him.
My Father had always supported my work...I keep a note he wrote me a few years ago, here on my studio desk...sometimes it makes me smile, sometimes cry...its signed "your proud Dad". He liked being a part of my artwork in earlier years, when I was obsessed with drawing, silk screening, photographing and painting birds...even surprising me by showing up at "Birds in Art" exhibitions I was accepted into, at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI. He always asked what I was up to in later years.
I was hoping to show him my latest painting, it is more reminiscent of those early passions I fed off of...I think he would have liked it.
It wasn't easy picking this back up after Dad's passing...it was weeks before I finally kicked the stool out from under myself and finally got in front of the easel again; but even then my progress has been less than stellar.
I feel a rekindling of sorts now. Its hard to explain. Have I come full circle? I don't know, but I've got too many things in my head now - I'd better get busy before they disappear!