Wednesday, April 18, 2012


acrylic on birch panel
16 x 20 inches, plus frame

For my August 11th solo show, Talisman at San Francisco's Modern Eden Gallery

call (415)956-3303 or email for inquiries
or corylou311(at)yahoo(dot)com 

I've been working on this painting for a while, and it's finally done!

It's called "Augurium", about the Ancient Roman practice of Augurs, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of the birds; whether they were flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they were.  I found this and much more useful information on this subject on Wikipedia

Only some species of birds could yield valid signs, and the meanings would vary from species to species.  Among them were ravens, woodpeckers and owls, the ones I decided to picture here.

The curved object pictured here is the lituus, which was used as a symbol of office of the augurs to mark them out as a priestly group.

Auspicium would design the technical process of the operation, i.e. aves spicere (the Latin phrase included on the bottom frame of the painting), which means "looking at the birds".  His result would be the augurium, i.e. the determination , acknowledgement of the presence of the auges, the favour of the god(s), the intention and the final result of the whole operation.

I found this whole process to be utterly fascinating, and also added elements of floriography (the Victorian language of flowers) to the piece.  The irises represent "messages", the wild strawberries, "foresight" and "future promises" and the pear blossoms represent "hope, health, longevity" and "good government".

The talisman that the barn owl holds in it's mouth is the Fourth Pentacle of Mercury amulet which assists in acquiring knowledge of all things, including reading minds.

Here's the progress shots:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For My Little One

"For My Little One"
acrylic on birch panel
8 x 10 inches, oval

For my August 11th solo show, Talisman at San Francisco's Modern Eden Gallery

Progress shots:

Here's my latest painting, "For My Little One".
It's a piece that I've wanted to make for a while; since a horrific scene that I witnessed from my living room window last year.  It all happened so fast that I didn't even really know what happened at first.  I was sitting at my drawing table and heard a loud sound outside.  I looked out to see a hawk with something in it's claws and a squirrel chasing after him.  
Apparently the hawk had snatched up a baby squirrel from the power line from where the mother squirrel had it with her.  I screamed and pounded on the window at the hawk, hoping he would let it go, but it flew away before I could run outside.  
I could hear the mother squirrel crying from the tree for what seemed like days later.  
I know that this is just one of the many natural occurrences in the brutal reality that is nature, but it was so excruciating to see it happen; especially when I had seen the mom running around with the baby in it's mouth the day before.
So, I had been wanting to make a painting where the squirrel gets revenge on the hawk that took her little one and brings back his skull, and for it also to look like she's keeping a vigil or visiting the baby's grave.  
She's holding forget-me-nots, which obviously mean "Do not forget me!" and remembrance, and the hawk skull is flanked by peach roses, which symbolize immortality.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Love, Uncaged

"Love, Uncaged"
inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds"
acrylic on birch panel
11 x 14 inches plus frame

Here's the finished painting of my contribution to the Hitchcock themed group show for 
Gallery 1988 Venice.  
The show opens this Friday, April 13th
214 Pier Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Here's the progress shots:

I love many Hitchcock movies, and was very inspired by seeing The Birds again recently.  

I was going to do something with the obvious choice of crows, but never having painted lovebirds before, and seeing how docile and cute they were in the movie (they were actually the only birds to NOT harm anyone), I decided I would go that route instead.  

The lovebirds were a gift from Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) to Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) that were supposed to be for his sister Cathy.  They are present in Bodega Bay for the whole bird attack fiasco, but mysteriously remain docile throughout (except for in my version!).

The flowers, tuberose, signify "Dangerous Love" in floriography (Victorian flower language).

Also, I wanted to add that the final image of the painting is a professional scan, so there may be some prints available in the future! ;)