Details24×36″, oil on linen on panel, 2011
Exhibited in “Masters’ Week,” Howard Schepp Fine Art, Palm Desert CA, 2011
On a traditional farm hardly anything gets thrown away. Scrap food is fed to the livestock, scrap wood is saved for repairs—just about any bit of rubbish can be recycled into something useful. The barn and outbuildings are often storage spaces for some of these odds and ends that are too useless to do anything with just yet, but also too valuable to throw away.
Here, two House Sparrows are making a home amongst the rubbish. It may not be an ideal place to nest, but they can see the potential to build something for themselves out of the cast-offs. The rake represents the sowing of seeds, and the eventual reward of the harvest. The upside-down horseshoe is bad luck, and the keys, door latch, and door knob are symbols of the home. The bones and bullet represent death and the seashell, birth. The glasses intimate that happiness is often a matter of perspective, and the honeycomb tells of toil.
Like the two House Sparrows, my husband and I have had our own experiences with building a home out of a seemingly spare and uncomfortable environment. The ability to find happiness lies in the ability to turn inwards, to create a safe and fortified nest in which to live.