A Sparrow Incarnates

Fresh on the heels of my BirdCore art series at the end of 2021, I started pushing the boundaries of what I had just explored with pattern collage in a larger format series that I’ve been calling BirdCore 2. The first BirdCore was all about emptiness and longing, exploring the different things that fulfill us. This theme took on an even more spiritual dimension in BirdCore 2 as I began writing the story to accompany the artwork. This story is about a golden crowned sparrow who was raised in an all purple world by purple birds. In this purple world perfect love existed along with perfect telepathy, empathy, and understanding, and yet the sparrow didn’t feel like she truly belonged there. One day she saw a red apple and decided to follow it, precisely because it wasn’t purple. This story follows her flight, or fall, through all the colors of the rainbow, as she chases after this something that she feels would fulfill her. I won’t spoil the ending, but the story is a parable of incarnation that follows a descent through the chakras. The worlds that Sparrow passes through get heavier, and the higher forms of communication and understanding are lost. Each place is beautiful, but perhaps Earth is the most beautiful of them all.

For BirdCore 2 I’ve been using the colors and traits associated with each chakra in the western occult tradition. I did not yet know that the ways chakras were understood in the original Indian systems are completely different. I do highly recommend you read about the centuries of mistranslation and misunderstanding that have created the western occult tradition of the chakras, which is now the dominant tradition throughout the world. Here’s a good post on the subject.

The collages I made for this series are larger than my usual preferred sizes, and much more complex. Each canvas measures 11 by 14 inches (well, large for me anyway) and the patterns covering them come from packs of patterned papers I’ve collected over the years, including some patterns by William Morris. While I made sure these patterns came with a license for commercial use, it’s not unlimited, so when I offer prints and the book for sale they will be offered in a limited run. I had stopped working on this series when I started learning how to make my own patterns, but I would still love to see them finished. Every morning I wake up to them hanging on the wall across from my bed, and I still love them, even though I haven’t drawn on most of them yet. Not so long ago I had a great fear of drawing on fresh white paper, a big fear that whatever I drew would be awful and make a mess of a perfectly good piece of paper, so what am I doing instead? I’m drawing directly on a gorgeous collage that’s already affixed to canvas. That can’t be smart, but as Bob Ross says, “Here’s your bravery test.” Like the sparrow intrepidly leaving her safe world to follow the fall of a strangely appealing red apple, I am leaving the safety of my sketchbook to test the strength of my drawing skills against my collage work. What might happen? If you haven’t already, join my mailing list to watch this art series take shape. I also promise I’ll call it something more interesting than BirdCore 2.

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