Friday, May 20, 2016

"Animo" - Rooster Painting Review

As I look at this rooster painting, my eye is drawn to two things. First, I am impressed by his step forward. Second, I am impressed with the light that surrounds the crown of his head. I believe that these two pieces of the painting are connected, and teach us how making decisions impacts our mental state. An enlightened mind is a result of a decision made, and not the other way around.

By placing a foot on the path, this rooster is charting a course. He is announcing his intended direction in a way that is unmistakable. But it starts with the foot, planted firmly as a declaration of decision.

Now consider the backdrop. Before he made his decision, he was in the murky world of indecision. This is represented by the darker, more muddy paint around the tail feathers. This is a place where time slips through our fingers and little is accomplished. In order to accomplish anything, we must leave this place. But there is opposition. Before we make a decision, we are assailed by second-guessing, self-checking, fears, doubts and misgivings that dishearten us, and convince us it would be better to decide nothing. This is represented by the multi-colored umbra near the crest of his back. The rooster is emerging from this place. By making a decision and stepping forward, his mind bursts from the envelope of doubt like a child from the womb. Where before he was darkened, he is filled with light, confidence and understanding. When we make a decision, in spite of all the swirling arguments against it, there is light that fills our minds.

This rooster has emerged from the dismal marshes of indecision, and as a result, light pulses from his confident countenance.

"Animo" is the Spanish word for "courage, energy and enthusiasm." And that is what I feel when I look at this painting.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Roosters in the Library

I love how my Dad's (Dave Merrill) art livens up whatever space it occupies. You walk into a living room, and BAM! A massive buffalo looks down at you from above the fireplace. You walk into the kitchen, and a rooster struts across the wall like he owns the place. Just like the moving portraits of Hogwarts Castle, wherever these paintings are hung, they add life, movement, and beauty to the atmosphere. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see his art hanging in the Grayson library for everyone to see. I grew up reading with these beautiful animals as companions. Now everyone else can.

From now until April 8, five of his paintings will be on display in the front room of the Grayson Gwinnett Branch Library.

"Snowboy" I miss the innocent enjoyment of childhood in this painting, portrayed through the sled, the snowball, the grinning dog and the red mittens and hat. This one is actually of me, more than 15 years ago. I remember posing for the picture.

"Strut" Roosters make me laugh. They're the smallest birds around, they can barely fly, but they make up for it by acting big. In the rooster's mind, he's the fiercest, most kingly animal in the world.

"Coach" That same bossy, puffed up attitude of the rooster is why I love this painting. The horse stands there quietly, listening to the loud advice of his smaller and less useful companion. I don't think the rooster realizes the horse could smash him. I've seen this type of relationship in people I know, and the familiarity of the situation makes me grin.

"Timp" This a taste of a Utah sunset over Timpanogas mountain. We had this view from our front window before moving to Georgia.

"Sitting Bull" I wish I could relax like this buffalo. Makes me want to go sit in a field and just be powerful.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Quietude" - Heron Painting Review

Water is movement. It swirls, splashes, rushes and crawls through streams and marshes in an ever changing dance of transformation. In the end, it always returns to its source, the ocean. Time is a lot like water. On its fluid current we are marched inexorably towards our final day, our last breath, when we are brought before our maker.

I love this heron's stance, tall and steady, planted in the drifting water calmly.This bird isn't desperate to change what it cannot. It doesn't seek to command nature's rhythms. Instead, it enjoys a suspended existence for a few seconds. Life continues, time marches on, but for this bird in this moment, everything is alright. Everything is as it should be. I love moments of quietude just like this.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Aware" - Wolf Painting Review

The wolf has two sides. One is an elegant diplomat, level-headed and aware of the world around him; the other is a feral gangster that craves the thrill of the hunt and a blood-soaked muzzle. This painting captures the cold and calculating politician. Here we don’t see the other side, but we know it’s there, both fascinating and terrifying.

So it is with us. We have our plans. They make sense. And everything will work out if we just stick. To. The. Plan. Then that howling, grinning, sprinting wolf in us catches a lovely scent, and off we go, mist gushing from our snout in an untamed romp through the woods. How many times have I sat down to work, with my desk just so - and a squirrely little thought darts out of the underbrush. I spend the next hour writing, or drawing, or researching a topic I'm passionate about.

There's a need for both sides. There's a time for foresight, caution, and calculation, but we must also be aware of the noble desires and passions inside us, and not stifle those things. The wolf is wise, and a grand part of its wisdom is in knowing when to let its love for the hunt take over.

Honest brilliance often comes at inconvenient times. But as we follow those flashes of genius, we'll be led to accomplish amazing things.