this is a vertebrae from a minke whale that died and washed up onto the banks of the edison slough some years ago. you could smell the rotting carcass from over a mile away. one day, gunther took the scumdinger, his trusty yellow sailboat, and in true pirate fashion, went on a mission to photograph and inspect the whale. as the carcass decayed further and dispersed back to the ocean, he went back to salvage some bones. someone had already made off with the skull and jawbone, so he grabbed a few vertebrae and gave them to his friends. we're lucky to have this beautiful bone, not only as a reminder of the mystical vastitude of life beneath the water's surface, but also as a reminder of gunther's adventurous spirit and love of the water.
this bone, along with the subjects of many of my still life paintings, is one of my many talismans. a talisman is defined by mirriam-webster as: an object held as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune. call it voodoo, but when i surround myself with these objects, i feel better. i feel protected. it's almost as if the objects are charged. so everywhere you look around my house there's a little chotchkie, doing its work: on my dashboard, in the kitchen, in the studio...on every shelf. everywhere. and suddenly, in retrospect, i realize why i pick these objects as my subjects to paint. most often, the talismans were given to me as a gift by someone who has passed. it could be something handmade, or something old and antique with many lives lived and many stories to tell. it could be something i use everyday, and take for granted. but these talismans, all together, become a wonderful safety nest, an orb of creative positive energy. they get me through. may each painting emphasize the specialness in the object, however plain and inconsequential that object may seem, and serve as an encompassing thanks, for getting me through.