I had absolutely no plans to do this painting this week. I hadn't thought about it for quite a while.
I had photographed this bird as a reference after it sadly crashed in my window last summer. It was heartbreaking to find the little guy.
This week, after I completed the Boxer painting, my plan was to work on a new piece featuring a crow. For some strange reason, once I got in my studio to start the crow drawing and composition, I impulsively turned to references of my poor bird and immediately started working on it.
Later that night, I found out that well known bird artist Ajay Brainard had passed away from his battle with cancer. Ajay painted the most wonderful paintings of dead birds, all of which were emotional and left you thinking and wondering. Although we were friends on Facebook, we didn't actually know each other personally, but I've always been a big admirer of his work. Ajay was far too young to be taken by cancer and the art world will have a huge hole left in it.
While I was working on this, another artist friend who had won her battle with cancer, told me that she felt a strong connection with this piece. It was personal to her and spoke to her. After I completed the piece, she suggested I call it Fragile because it stirred memories of her battle, and that it would mean so much to her if I did. I agreed. My mother was also taken by cancer a few years ago, and my best friend recently lost her husband to cancer, shortly before Christmas. I could really empathize.
These are painful moments that connect people on some deep level that can't be explained. Was there some sort of Jungian connection to Ajay's passing on this same day I started painting this? I don't know. We only talked about art a few times on social media and I followed his art. I really can't say I knew him. I do believe, however, that we are all connected on some level. I think similar experiences bring people together for unknown reasons. My friend who survived cancer was immediately drawn to this painting for some unknown reason. I've painted a lot of things, but this is the first time I've had this reaction to a piece. Maybe it's the dark subject matter. I don't know. I did hesitate painting it for a long time because of the darkness it conveyed, even though countless realist and classical artists have painted dead birds and animals before. I'm certainly not the first one. Maybe this was just the right time for this painting.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am planning on that crow painting, and hopefully complete a swan piece I had started. I promise it'll be lighter. :-)