Novelist Christy Ann Conlin loves her some Flannery O’Conner! Southern Gothic may not only influence this author’s writing (Heave & Deadtime) but also her photography as evidenced from her shot of a dead robin on a shovel which she so kindly let me paint. It’s the beauty in the ephemeral fleeting nature of life that makes this melancholic image so poignant for me.
Here’s my process of rendering her photo, Sadness of a Gothic Bird, into my oil painting, End of Spring.
For more on Christy Ann Conlin’s compelling “Rural Goth”, click on her books below. FWI, I took the photo of the crumbling porch on the jacket cover of Heave. It’s so inspiring when friends share an aesthetic!
Today was a perfect day, iridescent spider webs trailing from the skies and across my face on the way to work. The air was heavily scented with wisteria and lilac, all flooding through the open windows of my studio, mixing with the smell of linseed oil. NPR was talking about the secret lives of cats as seen though mini cat cams and I was finishing up a painting that my son has named End of Spring. I was taken with the melancholy beauty of this image when I first saw this photo by my multi-talented friend and novelist Christy Ann Conlin. She was generous to let me use it for a painting and although I should be prepping for Open Studio I’m so glad I dropped everything to do it. I love how this dead robin lying on a shovel transcends its profane circumstance and is elevated, literally and figuratively, to a vantage where we can experience a moment of wonderment at its life.