Thursday, April 19, 2018

Painting a frame drum, or the drum that painted itself (almost)

This drum skin was old and scarred and thicker than I like.  I did not at first even want to build a drum from it but I understand it is a gesture of respect to use well what is given from Nature and its creatures.

I tied the back handhold with an octagram, an ancient symbol of regeneration.  I hoped it would help the drum transform into a spirit companion.

When I paint a drum, I usually begin by painting what surrounds what I see, not the creature or story I see.  

This whale kept calling my attention, and so I used raw ultramarine pigment to dust over the area that wasn't the whale.

I added a few marks of black iron oxide.

And look what happened.

The whale was already in the skin in all its detailed magnificence.  All of the light edges of the fins and body, the subtle shading beneath the mouth,  the curve of the underbelly are not painted by me.

I positioned the drum in some late afternoon light to record the width of the frame and the position of the whale.

And it seemed to come alive.  Maybe this is what comes from honouring what is old and scarred and thick from life.  The wisdom shines out.