Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ojai Birds and Bats ~ My 2018 Solo Show

Not every winged Creature is considered a bird or a bat. 
Some wings are made of magic.

~Raani York, 2013 

One year ago I was painting like mad to finish 32 paintings for my solo show in December. The show was called "Through Time and Place: Five Decades" and it was my way of celebrating my 50th birthday! I wanted to honor the places that I love and that have influenced me while also feeling very productive as my birthday rolled around. 

They dip and dance 
like barn swallows at dusk 
glancing wingtip-to-wingtip 
against a lavender sky 
barely touching - 
yet, each creating thermals for the other 
to catch and ride - higher and yet, 
higher - towards a pale star... 
Kate Mullane Robertson

I used the money from the painting sales to go on my Saint Francis walk last spring. It was another way of marking my 50th, getting in shape, and also being in touch with the gratitude I feel for surviving a life challenging illness 10 ago when I turned 40. It was quite a full circle moment!

The following was my artist's statement for the show.

This exhibition is a reflection upon five decades and many places: The cities in which I have lived, countries where I have traveled and destinations that became pilgrimages. All have affected me in ways that are personal, powerful and life changing. These works are varied, as are the memories and connections I have with these places from my “Five Decades.” I hope you’ll enjoy the journey!

Ojai, California, 2017 (The Swallow)
Oil on wood panel, 2018
8 x 8" 

The painting of the bird in my mom's hand above, and the one below of the bat, both represent Ojai, California. I have spent so much time in that little town. Not only is it 20 minutes up the hill from my childhood home of Ventura but my sister, parents and many friends have moved up there over the last 10 to 20 years. 

True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings.
― William Shakespeare

The baby swallow had flown out of its nest, under my parents tile roof, a bit too soon. It hadn't been quite ready and we were worried it would become hawk food. We spent half the day encouraging it to fly but before that happened I managed to capture a photo with my mom's outstretched hand. It was so cute! And yes, it finally took flight. We were very proud. :)

Little Brown Bat

Not long after my parents moved to Ojai in 2007 we had a little visitor in the guest room.  It was a little brown bat and when I say little, its tiny furry body could have fit in the palm of my hand! It was so adorable! Fortunately, that bedroom has a door to the courtyard and we were able to encourage his swift exit without too much drama. OK, there might have been a little drama. It's not every day you expect to see a bat hanging from the shade next to your bed! 

There are currently 77 Endangered and 
Critically Endangered bats 
on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 
and we anticipate this number to increase 
as a new assessment is currently underway ...

~Bat Conservation International

"Trish Wimberley looks after hundreds of orphaned baby bats and rears them until they can be released into the wild. It's a tireless, never ending job which keeps her awake all hours (she apparently went 3 nights without sleeping once)."

There are 50 bat species in the United States but there are 1,300 in the world which make up a quarter of mammal species! The little brown guy I painted, that was hanging out in the guest room, was a micro bat. There are a lot of large tropical bats which are called flying foxes. The largest is the Malayan bat and it has a 6 foot wing span! The smallest is the bumblebee bat which has a 6 inch wingspan. Some can fly up to 50 miles an hour! They can live between 10 to 20 years. Isn't that crazy? I never knew until I researched information on bats for this post!  

Check out the "Bat Watch" in Austin Texas! Very cool! 

Leonardo da Vinci was absolutely fascinated by bats and the phenomenon of flight. He produced a famous drawing of a glider with bat wings! I know these little mammals freak people out, mostly  based on age old myths and lore, but they are amazing animals who are also eco-friendly pesticides! They are an important part of ecosystems around the world!

Ojai, California 2017
Oil on wood panel, 2018
6 x 6" 

This is an incredible video which shows high speed video of bats in flight at Brown University. At 10:45 you can see how amazing they are in flight by observing their skeletal structure in action! 

Speaking of bats and art, here's one of my favorite munchkins, Natalie, from the art studio where I teach. I love how proud she is holding her charcoal bat tone drawing!


Hope you enjoyed seeing two more of my paintings from my last show. I've already posted several of my oil paintings from the 2018 show, in my posts from Hawaii and Scotland. Lots more to come! 

Blessings and Light!

Twinkle, twinkle little bat 
How I wonder what you're at! 
Up above the world you fly, 
Like a tea-tray in the sky. 
~Lewis Carroll


electricwave said...

some years ago we rescued a bat at work:) ew

Candy said...

I love bats. Even if they didn't do anything interesting other than eat mosquitoes, I would love them. Great bat story and beautiful baby swallow story, Lucinda! Your paintings are fabulous, as usual!

Natalie said...

Lucinda- I love these paintings!!!!!!