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The Pelican

Pen & Ink, watercolor, pelican in the window, billowing curtain

This is one of my favorite creations but I needed a little serendipity to complete it.

First I drew the table without thinking of anything else. I loved the curve of that leg so I echoed it with the billowing curtain but as I looked at the empty spaces out the window I realized that the piece was going nowhere. It was background for nothing so I put it away in the flat file.

At another time on another piece of paper I drew the pelican and hated the background I gave him so I cut him out, and put him away.

The two pieces lay in obscurity until I decided to clean out the overflowing drawers, making piles of Keep, Throw Away and What Do I Do With This? The Pelican and the table by the window fell together and Voila! The swell of the pelican’s chest echoes the curtain and the table leg, the colors in his feathers echo the gray in the sky. The unexpectedness of his being there rates a double take. Did he just fly in the window? What’s he doing there? So many questions. Thank you, Muse.

The pelican is a favorite of mine; so goofy on land, so graceful in flight. You will often see a pelican sculpture in an old graveyard. He’s a symbol for Christ because early observers noted red on the breasts of nesting pelicans. They surmised that the mother plucked at herself to make her blood flow to feed her chicks; thus she became a symbol of self sacrifice. Turns out the red was just a phase in the plumage but the image stuck and that’s why you see pelicans standing over the graves of the long ago dead.

Was it the muse or the holy spirit who put my two images together? Are “muse” and “holy spirit” two names for the same inspiration?

September 21, 2018

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