Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Creatures to Paint...


We found another scorpion this morning... Great? These things are popping up all over the place! Unfortunately this one was vacuumed, so he will not be a specimen that I get to paint... and I can't even show you what he looked like since I didn't even get a chance to snap a couple pics of him. There's this sense of loss inside of me, hard to describe, but I'm mourning the lost opportunity...

You know, I certainly want to paint scorpions, but I'd also love to find some huge hornets to paint, but right now isn't the season for that kind of insect around here. The hornets/wasps we get are huge, their buzz sounds as loud as a freakin' lawnmower. And their anatomy is totally crazy, their back section is connected to the front by this little measly wire-like thing... And if I could ever get my hands on a dead diamondback snake... I'd give anything to paint a snake, the texture, patterns, the way light glistens on the scales, plus snakes are so interesting in terms of imagery and symbolism... as evidence witness the image I posted at the top, called the 'Madonna of the Snake' by Caravaggio. Laying the beat down on a snake with your bare feet!? Now that is crazy...

All this talk about painting creatures brings me back to a couple years ago when I lived in Chicago. I'd been telling my friends at work how badly I wanted to paint a bird. I'd go to the field museum every once in a while and draw specimens they had on display. It was actually really cool, and you'd always get these little kids coming up to you and asking a bunch of questions and saying lots of nice stuff to you about your drawing. Actually that was probably the best part, little kids are so funny and hilarious...

Anyways, I prefer drawing and painting in privacy, without millions of people milling about. So I wanted to figure out how to find a dead bird, preferably taxidermied or whatever (I had a crazy friend who said he was trying to learn how to do this so he was gonna help me out). Well, one day, walking back from work I came across a dead bird, perfectly normal looking, lying there in the middle of the sidewalk. I knew this was the moment of truth, would I, in my craziness, find the courage to pick up this random dead bird off the sidewalk so I could bring him home and paint him? Glancing in my bag I saw I had a brown paper bag, and I knew chances like this don't occur every day. So, in the end, I did do a painting of this bird... Unfortunately I have not found any dead birds since then, and the roadkill here in AZ tends to be pretty gruesome and also gets quickly picked apart by vultures. Cool.

Looking back, I would never touch a dead animal again, pretty stupid, you have no clue what kind of illness those creatures might have... When I got sick with my current illness, I had a couple bad holy shit moments, like maybe I got ill because of that bird, but it was so many years ago... I mentioned it to the doctor because I was kinda freaked out. Well, since I've done every test known to man, there's only one thing ailing me, the Epstein-Barr virus, so that bird I painted was irrelevant to my current situation. Good grief, I would've been insanely pissed at myself if the bird was the reason I had gotten sick, I was also pretty freaked about HIV, that's another one I would've beaten myself up over, but thankfully I don't have that!

13 comments:

Fringes said...

Please paint us some Arizona roadkill.

Bice said...

Avian flu was the first thing I thought of when reading this story.

Mariana said...

My theory is you're a super-hero, and it's your evil nemesis who keeps placing these deadly scorpions in your house.

I had seen that painting before, but it's the first time I've noticed the Madonna is stepping on the snake herself. So she's teaching baby Jesus how it's done! Tough mother!

MrManuel said...

Road kill paintings. You MUST do that!

taarzaan said...

Wasps and hornets are way alien looking, with those tiny thorax thingies and the triangular heads and all---I think I need to go lie down now........[thud]

WAT said...

I like this painting by Caravaggio lots. I may use it to decorate my blog sometime. I love art in general actually.

Sebastien said...

Fringes: Ok! Don't need to ask me twice, I'm totally down with that!

Bice: Yes, and isn't there something called the Hanta virus... Oh boy, I really need to not think about that stuff...

Mariana: Haha, what a wonderful theory!!! Dude, the Virgin Mary is awesome, not only does she give us Jesus, but she crushes the devil/snake with her feet! Cool.

Mrmanuel: Oh boy, you guys are really tempting me!!!!

Taarzaan: Haha, yeah, they are really cool looking, frightening, but really little engineering marvels! But yeah, when you look close at them they are super freaky!

WAT: That's awesome! I had a friend who gave me a great quote about art, but I can't quite paraphrase it right now, shoot, anyways, art is super duper!!!

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

The thought of touching a dead animal like that gives me the willies.

Babs said...

Several years ago I had a cat that left at least a kill a week on my door mat. Most were birds. I could have supplied you with excellent specimens. I didn't pick them up, I swept them onto a dust pan and carried them to the dumpster. However, the next door neighbor's kid put one on our hibachi before I could sweep it up. Now that would have been a fun painting.
Y'all have some strange bugs. And you are kinda strange. Coincidence? I think not.

Bice said...

Tag you're it!

Hedy De Vine said...

funny! i just put a pic of a bird i taxidermized up on my blog.

as i kid, i used to always pick up all the feathers i found on the ground. i thought they were good luck, since you didn't come across them that often. all this talk of bird flu makes me sad because now kids are too afraid to pick up feathers.

Babybull40 said...

hey sebastien.. what's with the scorpians? I think you have been invaded.. well I' sure you can find one alive to paint.. they are very creepy but an interesting choice for a painting..

Sebastien said...

Silverneurotic: Yeah, definitely kinda creepy touching a dead thing.

Babs: That would have been perfect, you would have been my dead bird provider!

Bice: Hahaha, I've already done that one you punk! But I'm certainly going to nail you with a meme next time, no more mr. nice guy.

Hedy de Vine: Haha, yeah I saw! Yeah, bird feathers were cool. You can get bird flu from feathers? oh man, might as well lock yourself in your room all day the world is so dangerous...

Babybull: Haha, I know it's craziness! Scorpions are beautiful, very creepy looking, but they are just fascinating.