"Rua and Magnolia Flower"                                                                                                  Bird detail on "Train"                                     "Chupakarma" mask

What is it about spring and creativity? There's nothing like the warming weather and blooming tulip trees, after weeks of bundled fingers and frosted geraniums, to draw out my inventive play. And this week, after a thrilling break in the cool temps, I've been taking cues from all things twitching, moving and flying in my work.

Actually, my animal-obsession started last fall, when Britton Estep and I decided to enter the Uncommon Threads Wearable Art Show with its 2009 Crytozoology theme. We produced "Chupakarma," a sculpture/costume, and felt elated when it was chosen. In December, a model paraded down a catwalk wearing our beastie.

Well, that wasn't the end for the terrifyingly cute animal. Inspired by Mardi Gras, I produced four more masks (with Maia Elgin) and flaunted our invented species in the French Quarter for Fat Tuesday. Amazingly, no one figured out our creatures indigenous origins, but strangers were fascinated by the cardboard fangs and bulging eyes. More than a few photographs were made of the small pack of Chupakarmas ten days ago, before the Lenten seriousness descended.

Now, birds are on my mind. My old elongated dove motif appeared in a painting, surrounded by bottles, words and bright colors. And, now in two paintings, our dog, Rua (a red cattle dog) glares out from the paintings, with the same plaintive glare she gives me when she wants to escape our house and chase squirrels.

What animals are occupying your waking hours? Take a moment to sketch them, describe their calls or follow them into unknown alleys. Spring is the perfect moment to return to our primal selves and screech the body ecclectic.

Leave a Reply.