I produced Pelicana Americana for the purpose of applying some mixed media techniques I’ve been exploring, drawing on elements from City Scape no. 1 and no. 2, and, in particular a recent poster. The painting, which is about 12” wide, was done atop a panel left from a previous painting. This work integrates colored pencil, black and blue ink applied with a brush, and gouache, with red and yellow acrylic ink applied last to bump up selected areas of saturation. Pelicana was also an attempt at creating spatial depth with deep and shallow layers of process- painting.
Below are process images of the painting, which was basically created in layers of drawing medium, which I sealed with a spray fixative, then covered in a layer of gouache.
As I’ve tried to explain Pelicana to myself and to others, I’ve been calling it a sort of fine art-illustration; it utilizes text and has a basis in the vintage illustrated pelican postcard, but its prompts interpretation rather than understanding. Myself, I see that the pelican in the foreground has assumed a soldier-like pose against a sky like an American flag; the stars, designs, and antiqued affect on the right side of the piece call upon some North American antiques and country- style ornamentation (Americana). The soldier-pelican’s banner blossoms from its eye like a wound; behind him and running through him stands an ancestor-pelican who overlooks a messy environmental situation in the background (possibly oil- or pollution-related). The pelican on the right flattens out spatially, almost turning into ash. I suppose the painting basically comments on the impact of human violence and military activity on the environment, and on the ramifications of their North American citizenship for non-human beings, though in this case, the idea for the title really came before the artwork; the imagery developed from the rhyme.