“Osprey Survival" is a new painting in my reactive metals series. When I paint birds, it is so much more to me than depicting a beautiful creature. Birds have survived many major extinction events, and are truly a link to prehistory. The osprey in particular, must perform a near life threatening maneuver for virtually every meal. The osprey circles above the water until it sees a suitable fish. It then dives, sometimes as deep as a meter, grabs its prey with its long talons, and fights its way to the surface and back into flight. Young ospreys sometimes grab a fish that is too heavy and may be pulled under, unable to release its curved talons. Imagine risking your life for every meal!
I use oxidized metals to create rust and patina, which, though they are a sign of corrosion and decay, create a color and texture that is somehow intensely alive. I find it a fitting medium to paint a creature that has survived near extinction from DDT to regain its place in the world.
Reactive metals are a series of paints containing iron, copper or bronze, that are carefully applied to a substrate, then oxidized to create rust or patina. The rust and patina are so much more vibrant than ordinary paint alone. They really can only be appreciated in the original piece.