There are opportunities when creating a painting to utilize the same substance as medium that one is describing as subject. This is true of the foreground hillside described in “Harbinger”. The big horned mountain goat and its young are seen plodding up a grooved terraced hillside. I built up the ground on the canvas over board surface with a thick impasto of sand and mineral under their hooves. I then carved sanded and stained it with tertiary (earth) tones.
Mother goat and kid are being beckoned to a mystical event by the distant music of a legendary Hopi entity. He can be seen, perched on a ledge in the middle ground right above. The same tribal mystic, the horn blower, is pictured in a petroglyph (barium red) in the foreground rocks, under the goat’s surefooted strides.
The Hopi ancient artist describes the calling to witness a mystic event about to unfold in the painting. This part is not a fiction. I saw the ancient red image while running in the hills surrounding Canyonland Park and the clearing of assembled boulders from a distance near Lake Powell of southern Utah. Helen and I were following a trail of known Hopi and native American cave and rock petroglyphs , indicated on a map.
The whirlpool like arrangements of clouds in sky convey foreboding, gathered above the clearing of arranged boulders below, where the event will take place. The lightning and general mood foretell of the approaching cataclysmic moment, one of supernatural significance manifest by the gathering cosmic forces.
This picture was prompted by the arrival of the year of the goat, the 8th sign in the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese interpretation of the goat is one who is gentle and cooperative. The western astrological interpretation however, visualized in a constellation of stars observed by Greek sailors; the goat is formidable, very determined, completing its trek up the hill despite danger and difficulty. I have always been in awe at the appearance and poise of mountain goats (ironically my birth occurred astrologically under Capricorn, represented by the goat)….The big horn goat, So at ease in environments of uncertainty and danger, never making a misstep (if that were only true of me).
Our runs and explorations led me to another location in the southern Utah desert, where it transforms into the “Valley of the Kings”. A region of magnificent rock formations, where violent erosion from rivers carved out towering sculptures of stone during in the primordial era. I felt something preternaturally strong from these places while there. The feeling travelled with me through the years, ultimately moving me to create this picture in the year of the Goat..