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The Pelican

This collage made of pen and ink and watercolor is one of my favorite creations but I needed a little serendipity to complete it.
First I drew the table without thinking of anything else. I echoed the curve of that leg with the billowing curtain. I got very wrapped up in drawing the ivy leaves on the wall paper, and then gave it a gray wash to make the table stand out. Unfortunately the empty space out the window left me uninspired and I put the piece away in the flat file.
At another time on another piece of paper I drew the pelican. He was better than the background I had given him so cut him out, and put him away.
The two pieces lay in obscurity until I decided to clean out the overflowing drawers, making piles of Keep, Throw Away and What Do I Do With This? The Pelican and the table by the window fell together and Voila! They were made for each other. The swell of the pelican’s chest echoes the curtain and the table leg, the colors in his feathers echo the gray in the sky. The unexpectedness of his being there rates a double-take. Did he just fly in the window? What’s he doing there? So many questions. Thank you, Muse.
The pelican is a favorite of mine; so goofy on land, so graceful in flight. You will often see a pelican sculpture in an old graveyard. He’s a symbol for Christ because early observers noted red on the breasts of nesting pelicans. They surmised that the mother plucked at herself to make her blood flow to feed her chicks; thus she became a symbol of self sacrifice. Turns out the red was just a phase in the plumage but the idea stuck; that’s why you see pelicans standing over the graves of the long ago dead.
Was it the muse or the holy spirit who put my two images together? Are “muse” and “holy spirit” two names for the same inspiration?

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