Nature Boxes

The Nature Box Series launched with my first bird-watching venture in the Missouri Ozarks. During my research to identify the birds, I became fascinated with spectrograms, the visual notations of the bird songs. I employed “fake” ones as decorative motifs on the “Ozark” box. When a plastic record of Humpback whale songs was folded in my National Geographic magazine, I was haunted by the eerie sounds and enchanted by the accompanying printed spectrograms. I finally saw the Humpbacks and heard them sing when snorkeling in Maui. I then created the “Humpback Whale” box. The Nature Box series continued with themes of birds, butterflies, trees, and rabbits. “Hare Moon” depicts the rabbit in the moon as observed by many cultures. (Our Western view is the man in the moon.)  "Duetting" illustrates the African, black-collared barbets that mate for life. They sing an antiphonal duet: one bird sings a note and the other answers with another note in syncopation and so on. When one dies, the other sings both parts of the duet. "Sumer is Icumen In" is from “The Cukoo,” a traditional English folk song. "Streams and Mountains" is from the Chinese poet, Hsu Pe, "Man's life does not allow unbroken ease, but to be able to be high up in the mountain this is leisure."

   

    The flat sheet of paper is painted on both sides then cut and folded into a cube without use of adhesives. The images under the folded flaps stay secreted from view. The boxes fulfill my need to invent three-dimensional forms along with brushing the surfaces with paint. It may seem crazy to put this much work into an object made of painted paper, but I love the materials. Paradoxically, despite my attraction to the ephemeral quality of things, I use archival watercolor and paper.

 

Arches Cold Press paper sheets range from 29 in. x 30 in. to 34 in. x 36 in. Folded boxes from 5 in. to 7 in.