The Crane, the Flight, and the Green Mountains
Watercolor and Ink on Mulberry Paper (37cm x 66cm)
John Shrader, 2013
Rambling Thoughts of the Artist
The Crane is the second painting in my Green Mountain series. I was toying with the idea of a crane, one of the ten symbols of longevity from Korean folk art, after having added some pines to Dried Fish. Unlike it’s predecessor, the Crane’s basic composition and style was quickly hashed out, crane looking left with arrows, flowing to the right, and geometric shapes lending contrast.
The contrast between natural and geometric is a theme I love working with in many of my paintings. Here, the crane, a symbol of long life and grace is contrasted by our primal desires of fight or flight. In keeping with the theme of the Song of the Green Mountain, the crane in the foreground does not represent our desire for a simpler life, but rather the crane in the painting does.
In the bottom left there are bubbles with bits of the city. Many of us live in bubbles. We have our home bubble, commute to our work bubble, and make our way to our entertainment bubble. Likewise, this side of the frame is covered with wallpaper. We wallpaper our world with routines and habits which make the idealization of the better life all the more tempting. These bubbles and wallpaper can become a prison of our own making. Perhaps this is one of the root causes of our desire to take wing to greener pastures.
But we have the power to fly, to explore beyond our bubbles, to color our walls and lives with experiences in the here and now. We don’t have to wait for some fabled far off land or the promises of retirement.