FALLING SERIES Acrylic on canvas, sizes range from 40 x 30 up to 60 x 48 inches
When I was a boy of five or maybe six, I was in the woods behind our house when I saw a mourning dove fall suddenly from the sky and hit the ground hard. I got close enough to see its heart pounding and I remember my own heart was beating just as fast. I could see the pale rose color of its breast and the gray and cream colors of its wings. I stood as still as I could and watched and waited. The light faded and the woods went silent. The wind died. It got dark and yet the bird didn’t move. Finally, I reached down to pick it up and it exploded in a thunder of wings and vanished into the night sky. That memory, the moment that bird left me standing alone in those dark woods, has stayed with me all my life - more than stayed with me - it has haunted me and has many times over the years entered my dreams. I think of these paintings as markers of memory and mourning for each individual bird, split second moments of time, stopped forever on canvas as these wondrous beings fall one by one to earth and sea. Most show a trinity of bird, sky, and earth or sea, but in some the bird is falling through a vast emptiness of sky and you can only sense the presence of earth or sea somewhere far below. Now these years later the memory of that dove has become the basis for these paintings in my Falling Series which then led to the Memory Series (see the next gallery).