Nests, Eggs and the Empty Nest

I paint best when I paint from my heart and my life, and the central story for my heart and life this past year has been our empty nest. Every parent lives through this – one moment you have toddlers curled up in your lap for a read-aloud, the next moment they are off in the world on their own. The nurturing nest that was the center of their universe is empty, but the parents remain behind and have to redefine their world.

I have always been drawn to the visual and symbolic power of nests and eggs. The nest to me is a symbol of home, comfort, safety, security and family. It is a profound contradiction – a circle, the most primal of shapes, formed by a woven, twisting complexity. A nest is life at rest, a whirlpool that doesn’t whirl, constructed of once-living matter that no longer breathes. It is organic, but dead; it has nurtured life, that has now fled.

Eggs signify fertility, birth, growth, a lifetime of possibility and adventure. Together they are a powerful metaphor for all that is right and good in the world. Separated, the egg is lonely and vulnerable, the nest abandoned and without purpose. My task as a painter, and my task in life, is to explore new meaning and potential in that newly emptied nest.

The paintings in this show are part of that exploration. These are very much a continuation of past work – my love of texture, bold paint strokes, subtle palettes with bold punctuation is all at work here. But the subject matter is more personal in all senses – the story that it tells, the symbols it represents, the visual power of a chaotic hurricane of paint forming the primal stable circle, how a brush stroke comes from life but now is frozen in time. No life without death, no birth without departure.