Progress: the defile

Yesterday I finished work on a small piece now called The Conclave (Defile). I increased the number of crows in the far background, thinking about the unearthly magic of a vast swarm of swallows in the process. I added a much larger crow low front and center, hoping that this would increase the sense of depth in the picture and give us as viewers a character to get attached to. I edited the previous cloud of crows, removing some repetitive shapes that appeared mechanical. And lastly I added the hermit’s hut, an artifact from the whole image’s drawing-seed, made a year ago. 

With these changes, I understand the story that was implicit in the seed. Monks were jokingly referred to as crows in medieval literature, hinting at the not-so-hidden connection between spiritual practice and death, and in this image, a vast conclave of crows circles, like herons at Bosque del Apache. Crow communities are not usually this big, so in the world of this picture something special is happening. A lone hermit leaves her house and heads to the conclave herself; but the viewer is invited as well, as she sees through the defile (a word for a tight canyon, and of a pun on our present state), into the desert, and into the bright cacophany of a million kindred souls.

This is what I hope for. I hope that somewhere in our future on this planet it will be a bright and beautiful day in the desert, and we’ll gather together, gleefully quarrelling, one in spirit, and a million in form.

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