Kingfisher and Aspen
(scroll down for description)
40” x 48”, acrylic, 1977
A staccato rattle sounds. There is nothing else like the call of a kingfisher. I am near a lake, and he is flying, but I can't see where. For some reason when I hear one I always want to see him. I like his shape, his air-scooping flight, and perhaps I might see him hover, plunge and catch a fish. Then I see him flash by the aspen along the shore. Wait a moment! It wasn't a 'him', it was a 'her'. You can tell by the rusty flanks.

Universally, the kingfisher is found near water and fish. To me, in North America, it always symbolizes clear, blue northern waters. The typical tree of this area, especially in the autumn, is the trembling aspen. The leaves like medallions of gold, tilt and glint in the sun because of a flattened rather than rounded stem. Even in the slightest breeze, it shimmers and produces a gentle, rustling sound like distant moving water.

I wanted to make this a 'pattern' picture with no major focus, but with flickering rhythms moving throughout. Two contemporary artists may have provided subconscious inspiration. One is Jackson Pollock, whose rhythmic dribble and splatter canvases can be a feast for the eye. The other is Victor Vasarely, whose 'op' art uses circles gradually changing, perhaps from light yellow against dark blue to dark yellow against light blue. I have provided a similar transition by modulating the tone of the leaves and the tone of the water.