That’s The Temple I Don’t Go To, 5 3/8″ x 8 1/2″, Watercolor, Ink, and Colored Pencil on Paper
The prompt particularly says, “That’s the temple I don’t go to.” I’m guessing this a movie reference or quote because of the source, but then again it could be based on little more than my friend’s wisecrack sense of humor.
The word temple immediately drew up all kinds of religious and sacred imagery, but I mostly have positive experiences going to synagogue with my dad or visiting historical Eastern temples. There’s nobody traditionally temple involved whose chops I feel like busting. So in the course of musing over what I could enthusiastically take issue with that also has recognizable symbolism, this became a commentary on greed. It’s not meant to be an accusation directed toward economics or capitalism, as those systems run well or poorly depending upon how they are directed. I guess I mean this mostly as a reminder of how dangerous worshipping in the temple of reckless desire is and as a finger pointed in the mirror, reminding me to ask myself what temples I’ve been patronizing lately.
Also, it was wildly fun to play with slightly macabre imagery, as I rarely tend toward that direction.
Ducks Diving Underwater, acrylic on paper, 8 1/2″ x 5 3/4″
Although the prompt was for ducks, I couldn’t help thinking of cormorants. I grew up with a book called The Story About Ping, which is, indeed, about a duck. However, the scene that has always stuck with me was about cormorants.
“Then came a boat full of strange dark fishing birds. Ping saw them diving for fish for their Master. As each bird brought a fish to his Master he would give it a little piece of fish for pay. Closer and closer swooped the fishing birds near Ping. Now Ping could see shining rings around their necks, rings of metal made so tight the birds could never swallow the big fish they were catching.”
From the book, rings and all…
As a kid, I felt sad for the cormorants and relieved for Ping that he didn’t share their plight. It was an early lesson in servitude and freedom. Rereading it now, I think of contemporary economic realities; many of us work for others and struggle to achieve true financial self-sufficiency in a system designed to hold us in service, often without our even realizing that that is the case.