This painting is part of the Alchemy Series that explores the eternal question of who are we as human beings in the universe, and more importantly, how we are. What is our relationship to the celestial aspects of ourselves that are reflected in the physical manifestation in the world around us?
Called "Incubation of the Self", this painting emerged in two phases. The first was the nest and egg but something felt incomplete and I let the painting sit for a month or so. What was apparently wanting was the bird, but not just any bird, but a sturdy life-giving heavy-billed bird that was incubating a human.
Sometimes you just don't know what wants to come out into a painting.
Interestingly it was not until I was reading "Creation Myths by Marie-Louise Von Franz" that I realized that many birds are involved with the creation of the human. The Raven plays a large part in one of the Inuit myths wherein a Raven-like being plants seeds and out from a pod emerges a human. With him is a little sparrow who existed before Raven came into existence. (This sparrow does not figure in this painting but perhaps he will show up in a future painting? It might be fun to do the Raven and Sparrow myth in a painting.)
Father Raven went about and planted herbs and flowers. He discovered some pods and he looked at them and opened one, and a human being popped out of it- beautiful and completely grown, and the Raven was so bewildered that he threw his bird mask back, and through his bewilderment he became a human being again himself. Marie-Louise Von Franz. Creation Myths, pg. 32.
I love how Raven is part human himself and unconsciously giving creation to the human race. My bird, although clearly not a raven, also somehow has the ability to generate the human being. I always find it a mystery as to what comes about in a painting process although perhaps not surprising as Von Franz says:
It is sometimes revealed very clearly to us that creation myths represent unconscious and preconscious processes which describe not the origin or our cosmos, but the origin of man's conscious awareness of the world. This means that before I become consciously aware of the world as a whole, or part of my surroundings, a lot happens in my unconscious. Ibid. pg.5.
So it is all happening in my unconscious before I am aware of it and thus always surprised as an artist as to what emerges on the canvas. It is always fun to expect the unexpected.