I’ve been looking for a title for this new painting, an 18″ by 18″ canvas, for a week or so now. A lot of things come to mind and I thought I had it for a while. Then I was listening to some music and one of the songs just hit me.
It was Ascending Bird, a traditional Persian folk melody, played by the Silk Road Ensemble which is a large and loosely knit group ofmusicians, including the great Yo-Yo Ma, who hail from along that fabled route and play many of the traditional instruments. The Silk Road was the network of ancient routes that traders used in linking the East and West over the centuries, from China through the Middle East to the Mediterranean. Both goods and ideas moved along the Silk Road.
This song is the Persian version of the Phoenix myth, of a bird who flies higher and higher toward the sun until it is engulfed in flames. It then rises from the ashes as a new creature.
And that’s kind of how I see this painting. The paths moving from dark to light signify a transformative journey and the Red Tree appears as a Phoenix-like figure emerging from a hillock bursting from a treed hillside. The Red Tree almost seems to ready to take flight. I see it as a moment of realization and redefinition.
Here is the Silk Road Ensemble with Y0-Yo Ma performing Ascending Bird. The version here is a shorter one but has the dynamic punch that struck me. You can hear a longer version here. Give a listen and have a great Sunday.