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Oil Paintings, 2016

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his 'pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
From: "Ode to a Nightingale" John Keats

A poet friend mentioned these lines from Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" in regards to the paintings I was working on last Fall and Winter. I had been interested in wind and flight and vitality after seeing the Nike of Samothrace, also known as Winged Victory, at the Louvre. She embodies such strength and grace in her stride and uplift in her posture and wings. Another inspiration came from La Fée Électricité, by Raoul Dufy at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. This permanent large room sized mural depicts the history of electricity, both mythical and actual. I was especially taken with the gust of wind near the beginning and the overall color.

This excerpt from Keats added to the thoughts and images I had begun. I loved the grounded and whimsical idea of a chariot drawn by leopards in relationship to flight of fancy in the viewless wings of poesy. This combination of being rooted to the earth while floating, following imagination made a lot of sense to me as it relates to my own painting process which starts with an idea, color, quality of light or some other spark and then unfolds in ways that I cannot begin to plan. Most of my studio time is steeped in exploring unknown territory, letting the process lead the way.

Movement, wings, gusts of wind, leopard spots, and atmosphere are where this body of work began. Once engaged in the work, I forgot precisely where I began and kept going. Eventually the spots became stars describing the cosmos.

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©2014 Katie Hawkinson