GALLERIES
GAGGLE
© 1997 Keith Halonen    oil on panel    18×14 in /
46×36 cm    $ 2,800 US
GAGGLE is one of four paintings featured in Methods and Materials,
Christopher Willard's monthly column, in the May 2002 issue of
AMERICAN ARTIST magazine. The other three paintings:
1 | 3 | 4

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 GAGGLE  MARIPOSA NOCTURNA  NIKO IN SHADE  THE GASTON TRIO

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     At dawn the farmer's wife brings a bucket of feed out to the barnyard for her geese. As she approaches the door of the pen, the geese vie for position to be at the head of the line for the day's first meal. The clear morning sun creates sharp contrasts of light and crisp shadow. The feisty birds are eager to start their day.

     Geese are innately nervous animals, charged with a frenetic energy. They can be good watchdogs because of their forceful assertive dispositions. Here the latent intensity of the gaggle is evident in the postures of its individual members. They are all bolt upright, trying to see over one another. They all look in the same direction, anticipating the opening of the pen gate.

     From time to time I create work that is deliberately limited in its range of color. Here is an exemplary effort in that discipline. Brilliantly lit, white geese can be almost luminescent. Against deep shadow or a dark field they can be nearly blinding. This painting has everything I enjoy most in this form of exercise. There are basic colors, strong contrasts, and compressed energy. The topic is universal.



Detail from GAGGLE

     While I was painting the geese, I dreamed that I was putting together a jigsaw puzzle and the puzzle image was this painting. It was a vivid dream with an undercurrent of mild frustration.

     It was difficult to figure out where pieces fit together since there were only three basic colors. The solution depended more on matching the edges of puzzle shapes than on linking up the image colors. It seemed to take days in my dream, but somehow I finished solving the puzzle. When I awoke the next morning, I had a strong sense of satisfaction and whenever I look at this painting the feeling returns.

     Here also is an example of my camouflage signature. I often (but not always) weave the artwork title and my signature into the design elements of the image.

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