Close up of owl stains
I once collaborated with an owl which resulted in a very special painting called ‘Final Cut’. The blank canvas was stored in my attic where, unbeknown to me, the owls were breeding. The result was an owl-soiled canvas. Instead of replacing the canvas I felt strongly encouraged to work with the beautiful stains which reminded me of the petals of an Iris flower. So I started painting thin, transparent layers of petal over the owl stains.
As the ‘flower painting’ progressed I became aware of the shape of a human figure pushing forth out of the centre of the Iris. The bald head intrigued me until I realised that it was a bird’s head.
Figure with bird’s head
Up to this point I had been working on the bottom half of the painting only. I had no idea what I was going to paint in the top half. Discovering the bird’s head brought the answer : the Iris petals transformed into the wings of the bird which extended upward. They came together at the top, creating a pointed arch which suggested a sacred space.
The Final Cut
Stepping back from the painting, eventually, I became aware of overtones of The Phoenix Rising and a birthing. The fact that my collaborator, the owl, is a powerful symbol of transformation and ancient wisdom adds another layer to witnessing this birthing process.
What the creative process of this painting taught me: