Monday, January 11, 2016

A Painting from the Pigeon Series - The Rain Dancer

I am starting with the 3rd painting of the pigeons series because it's a portrait of Pete, the patriarch of our pigeon family. Who was Pete?

"One day, on a sunny morning in March 2008, a pigeon appeared on the balustrade of our balcony on the higher levels of the appartment building. There was something about this pigeon that made me wonder who he was. Normally I would have chased him off – as I usually did – because of my ignorance, because I did not like them pooping everywhere, because they made so much noise  in the early morning that you could not sleep any more and overall I did not like pigeons very much… But this one – it was different.

He somehow reminded me of another pigeon who regularly visited our balcony for a few minutes. We called him Mr. Whitecap, because he was light grey, with white wing feathers and a white cap. And he had one badly crippled foot that made him limp. But nevertheless he appeared again and again for about 5 years and then disappeared. I respected and admired this bird for coping with this injury and apparently having a strong will to survive. How little did I know then… And now this new pigeon appeared on our balcony, looking very similar to our Mr. Whitecap whom I somehow missed and I was suddenly sure that he, the new one, was an offspring of Mr. Whitecap. He did not have this white cap but he was the same light grey blue barred pigeon, his wing feathers were white and he had at least a few white spots on his head and a really beautiful face and very intense eyes. I just had this feeling…

He – the new pigeon – let me observe him while I was inside but as soon as I opened the balcony door he was gone. So he was really a shy one. I was eager to know what would happen next.To be honest – nothing really happened for a while besides that he appeared one day and then was gone again for several days.
But one day he appeared again and with him came a tiny little pigeon lady, a dark grey one, with no special markings besides a sweet face and with somehow slanted eyes which were reminiscent of Asian eyes. I  had started to observe these birds closer, noticing more details about them and somehow they suddenly became more and more interesting for me. I really cannot say any more when this change of mind happened but there was clearly a change.

Pete, as I called him in the meanwhile, and Emma, his mate, still appeared only sporadically. Obviously they were a couple and both very shy. At the very moment I opened the balcony door they were gone. One day I observed them how they kissed each other and started the courtship mode. It was so interesting to watch this and I found it very sweet.  So touching. I knew I could not chase them away any more if this should become an option.

In the meanwhile I put my plants out on the balcony again while the weather had become warmer. Also our pigeon couple seemed to get more accustomed to our presence and did not take off immediately any more when I openend the door. But they still flew away as soon as I came nearer than about 3 meters. And then one day, when I was watering my plants, I realized that Emma had silently built a “nest” behind a large planting pot with chlorophytum, that I had placed on another very large planting pot, that was filled with earth, just beneath the long leaves that were hanging from the pot. And she had laid 2 eggs. So what to do now?
As I did not know how long she was already sitting on these eggs I decided to leave her where she was and tried to do everything a bit more comfortable for her i.e. I placed some more planting pots around her in order to protect her from further disturbance and view. And I had still no idea what would come next. Oh my – if I had known before…

Things took on and then one day – on the 9th of April in 2008 – the first egg hatched and out came something tiny, with golden-yellow “hair”, a big head, huge feet, some strange huge eyes which still could not see, a wonderful living creature that changed our lives completely. This was Willy, our “first born”….

And then, two days later, little Joey climbed out of his egg shell….

So Pete became the first life model of my pigeon series. Rain Dancer would have been much more impressive if I had painted especially this one on a much larger canvas. But so far I don’t have the space for really large canvases. Here is the final result:

"The Rain Dancer" 
18" x 26"
acrylic on canvas 

Here are some details of the finished painting....

(to be continued - part 2)


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