Pencil and watercolor on paper mounted on four panels. 60”x62”
Created for “Worlds of Discovery and Loss: The Art of Migration” for the Mondavi Center for theArts; curator by Robin Hill 2013 The birds are Sooty Shearwaters (related to albatross) They have the longest migrations of any animal . Shearwaters spend their entire lives at sea and land to nest. Sooty Shearwaters nest on islands off South America and New Zealand They migrate in large groups, sometimes more than a million at once. Our seasons are caused by the 23.5 degree tilt of the earth’s axis relative to the sun. So migrating birds are looking to take of the “Endless Summer” by moving from summer in the northern hemisphere to summer in the southern hemisphere. It is interesting to realize that, because they live at sea, they have no references to the seasons that we might think of; flowers, falling leaves, they have only the movement of the sun and stars to let them know what season it is. The 23.5 wedge shapes in my piece are an attempt to show the birds moving from the short dark winter days to the longer days of summer. In the composition the swirling patterns are an attempt to give a feel for shearwaters “dynamic” flight style. They use the wind and the waves like a surfer does riding a wave. Shearwaters use the wind to blow them into a high arch over the ocean and then they let gravity pull them down until the wind catches them again. When the wind is strong they rarely need to flap their wings.
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