The Handbell

2001, Oil on Canvas, Size: 20 x 16

When I paint images of heads or torsos, I often feature a secondary object – an apple, a bell, or a glass perhaps. Frequently these heads or torsos are accompanied by a bird, as the bird represents fortune.

My bird of fortune is free to come and go as she pleases; I do not restrain her in a cage. She seldom visits, but when she does, I offer her a meager gift of dried pasta morsels. It’s all I can afford, but I feed her generously, hoping she’ll come back again for another meal. Once, my bird of fortune sat on my shoulder and intimately leaned her tiny head against my cheek. I asked her if she would return, but she coyly flew away without an answer.