Last week, after I did this bird drawing, I thought
"She reminds me of someone".
Yesterday Vermeer's "Girl with Pearl Earring" came to mind-- the similarity being the long shape on the right, as well as the positioning of the subject in the frame. The gazes and facial expressions are completely different.
I've been thinking a lot about how our brains respond to shapes and pattern, as opposed to reading emotions and facial recognition. Both are basic survival skills-- shapes and movement for identifying predators or prey, and facial expressions for detecting potential threats or aggression.
John Gould: Blue Pitta. Early 19th c.
The bird prints, for me, evoke both responses. I have a strong visceral reaction to the shapes, colors, and high-contrast patterns; at the same time, I'm projecting myself into the emotional life of the creature, what is it thinking, how is it feeling. It's the simultaneity of these responses, the sense that I am suspended between two primitive, but very different reactive states, that engages me and gives me a great deal of pleasure as well.