Friday, October 7, 2011

Split Aparts

For our second painting assignment this semester, we were told we could do either a self-portrait or a painting on a social issue that matters to us.  I decided to do both.

As I was trying to decide which social issue I wanted, my friend Bo Allen made a post of facebook asking for prayers for friends of his in Virginia that were victims of a gay/lesbian hate crime.

I decided to dedicate this painting to them.

I began by printing out Plato's Symposium, The Seven Conversations of Love.  I used 6 of them in smaller text to create the background of my piece, gluing them down like pages of literature.

On top of these, I glued down slightly larger quotes about love, kissing, and how they connect our souls.

Then I covered it in a base coat of paint.

My primary idea is, "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies", so this quote is center top.

Then I drew in my shapes and began working on my background colors.

My concept is a tree of life sprouting out of the top my head (as this is my idea) covered in Persian carnations, symbolic of the incarnation of 'God made flesh' and a sign of life.  On top of this are 2 stylized wedding bands entwined.  Over this are three couples, 2 male, a male and female, and 2 female.  The base for the couples is the seventh conversation-- Aristophane's interpretation of love, where the idea of split aparts come from.

Then I added the details.

The tree, sprouting from my head.

And the finished piece:

"Split Aparts", 3' x 5', paper, wall paper and acrylic paint on masonite.
Prints and other merchandise available at my society 6 page.

Individual details of each of the couples available here:

Couple on the left
Couple in the center
Couple on the right

Because it is time to realize that hate is far more of a choice that sexual orientation will ever be, and marriage should be a union between people who love, honor, respect and understand each other-- regardless of their gender.

Mystery Solved! The Case of the "Bumble Bee with a Crawfish Tail"

When I was 15 years old, I was in the backyard of our house in Virginia when bubble bees gathered around the flower bush to gather pollen.  I stopped to watch them, and saw the most amazing creature I had ever seen:  a bumble bee with a crawfish tail.
I dashed in the house, yelling for my Mom to follow me, to have her identify this amazing bug.  But by the time we got out there, it was gone.

The next day, I asked my Biology teacher if she knew what it was.  She'd never heard of a bug that looked like a bumble bee with a crawfish tail.

I saw another one this summer while visiting my Mother in Missouri.

It was only the second one I had ever seen, and this was 19 years after the first!  My mother didn't see it.  Again.  Unlike 19 years ago, there was now the internet to help me search.  But looking for a 'bumble bee that has a crawfish tail' wasn't doing anything for me.

That bring us to three days ago.  Out in Malone courtyard during painting class, one of my instructors went wild when she discovered this:

Photo by Beverly West Leach, "A White Lined Sphinx Moth that was busy sucking nectar on some Lantana in Malone Hall courtyard "

The next day, I was walking past the same flowers and saw a Humming Bird Moth
and thought, "Hey!  Mrs. Leach is right.  They DO look like humming birds!"

But as I was looking at the image, I realized that, other than the coloring being wrong, that sure looks a lot like my mysterious critter.  As you can tell by the first images, I finally found my bug!

It took 19 years to learn that my 'Bumble Bee with a Crawfish Tail' is actually called a snowberry clearwing moth.

And although I've only seen 2 in my entire life, they're actually pretty common in America.

It's exciting and relieving to know 1. I didn't make them up, and 2. what they're actually called.

The mystery is finally solved.