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Dining Out
10 x 22

People ask me all the time what attracts me to a particular subject when trying to decide on a new artwork. There is no easy answer but it's usually one of four things. 1) A particular species or behavior I want to depict 2) Interesting play of lighting on a subject 3) A challenging texture or series of textures 4) An interesting concept based on a theme. Many times it's a combination of one or more of these ideas. Such was the case with this particular board.

Wandering around my property one day I caught a fragrant scent on the air and followed it to some wild black cherry branches peeking through the forest of cedars, the early blossoms catching what light they could. A bee hovered around the flowers. The light was so intricate on these tiny blooms my brain started wondering if I could pull this off. I do love depicting flowers in scratchboard, but these were so fragile and small... I took some photos of the branches in a variety of light situations.

An idea was forming to incorporate a bird into the piece. Not being my style to create work that is too "pretty" or "contrived", I imagined the quiet scene of a bee buzzing lazily around the flowers suddenly shattered by a kingbird darting in for a quick meal. The stage was set. Members of the flycatcher family, Eastern kingbirds (Tyrannus tyrannus) are notorious for taking any kind of flying or crawling prey, and also for their aggressive defense of territory, knocking aside birds much larger than themselves. This was perfect. My delicate, pretty blooms were to be offset by one dark feathered, bad-ass bird. It was a concept I couldn't pass up.

And so this piece fits itself neatly into all of the above categories; species, behavior, lighting, textures and theme. It's an artist's dream to have all of these happening at once, albeit a challenge to create.