Gourd Paintings and Flying Squirrels

July 11, 2020

A lady gave me a bunch of papers on how to grow gourds. Really she gave them to my parents and they brought them to me. They handed over a book about gourds and some loose papers stuffed inside. They were info sheets from a gourd growing group up in Illinois. Maybe it was Indiana? All sorts of plant info. I like the shape of gourds. Stuffed in the gourd book was a chart which I now have on my studio wall that showed a hundred or more types of gourds and their names. All were grouped by common shapes.

When I was a boy my grandpa had bird houses made of gourds. I remember seeing Purple Martin gourd houses — painted white — out in a field up on a tall pole. Usually there would be 20 of them together. The gourds my grandpa had hanging up on the pine tree were home to some flying squirrels. We would take a long thin piece of bamboo and rattle it inside hole and watch the squirrels fly out. That was a good memory from when I was ten years old. Maybe I was eleven. Squirrels and gourds and rattlin’ sticks.

The shapes of gourds really inspire me. So I started making this painting based on the ideas they gave presented. The swoops and swirls. The bulges and dips. Night time and spirits. The tendrils. The stars and moon. Inside and out. It is all really no problem. They just flow out. It is all so natural. Like flying squirrels and purple martins shootin’ out of a gourd hole.

These paintings are made of exterior house paint and glitter on a wooden panel made from the wall of my studio renovation. You know the old brown wood panel with the fake lines printed on it? The wooden frame on the back is made from strips of wood I collected along my road. I do the best I can to use materials I find or leftovers from projects. I don’t have to go buy many new art materials. I enjoy painting on things that have a back story to them — Things that carry some history under their arm like lunch in a paper sack or seeds in a chipmunk’s cheek.

I like stars and nature and gourds. I like the windy breeze and summer cloud mountains — the ones that look like poofy cotton candy or soft serve ice cream but are really 50,000 feet high and usually have a storm inside. Gourds need rain to grow. I bet they like the summer storms too. From now on, when people ask me where I get my inspiration from, I will tell them it comes from gourds. Pure and simple.

You can see these paintings in my shop

Fun times to you,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks

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