There’s still a rural quality about Corrales, despite the growth and traffic that now abound. The sign that greets all drivers as you approach the village makes it clear that animals…originally it actually said Coyotes…live here and are welcomed.
The sounds of the animals around this small compound where my casita is located are music to my heart. There are two goats in the front yard, horses nearby and a small organic farm with a flock of chickens to the South. What I didn’t expect to see was a large peacock strutting around the compound…and then to discover there were several more in an enclosure in the neighbor’s yard. This handsome bird is the largest male and has free roam of the place, at least during the winter. I welcomed his frequent visits as his curiosity sometimes brought him to my front door with a peek inside while remaining aloof and wild. This was a proud bird…no household pet…and I admired that. I also noticed that his tail was just a short stub, following a molting season, and I resonated with that too. The decision to move had been difficult and I felt a bit shorn of my own sense of security.
Watching the daily rounds of this wandering beauty taught me to look for him outside the back window where he liked to sun himself and catch the last warmth of the day as the nights began to cool down. I also discovered that any noise I would make in the studio…like stretching canvas with a staple gun…would bring him to the window in a flash. It would make me laugh out loud to suddenly see this quizzical face staring at me as if asking “what’s the racket all about?” Sometimes, (maybe when he was bored?) he would simply come to the window and tap on it with his beak.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was the next Icon in the making and I began the process of drawing up possible designs. One day, while drawing the pattern of tail feathers, I heard him fly onto the roof and walk over to the spot right above my head. I silently asked if this met his approval…and felt that it did…as long as I did him justice.
So, as his tail has grown to trail on the ground, I’ve been allowing this work to grow into a triptych by adding doors to the original layout. The boards were cut, gessoed and sanded, then the design traced on and finally the gold leaf placed on the center panel.
I’m now in the process of painting with egg tempera and enjoying the surprises that emerge each day. These pigments are so beautifully translucent! They lend themselves to layers of color that blend as they overlap on the board, while allowing the light to bounce through them and back again.
I’m adding a photo as a bit of a tease…a peek into what is evolving. The work is far from finished but coming along quickly. These doors will include a touch of gold when completed and all the board edges will be given another coat of red clay before the final varnishing. In a few weeks I should be able to share the whole painting with you.
I haven’t seen “himself” for the past few weeks as he’s busy contributing to the next generation of peacocks during this Spring mating season. I do hope to see him out and about again and especially look forward to the day I see him display his gorgeous new tail. He’s taught me a few things about not being afraid to let your light shine.