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 Two Stories -- Common Nighthawk (1994)

Acrylic on illustration board
22" x 30"
 The common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) breeds throughout North America from Canada to Panama except in the extreme north and the deserts of the U.S. southwest and Mexican northwest. Common but inconspicuous residents of many American cities, they spend their days sleeping on flat rooftops where they also lay their two eggs, usually waiting until sundown to take to the air. At night even their strange buzzing chirp blends in with their surroundings, resembling more the sound of some electrical gizmo than the call of an actual creature. Their winters are spent in South America. I love to watch them catch bugs over the city on summer evenings and have always been struck by the contrast of two worlds: birds above, and people below, both seemingly oblivious to the other. Juxtaposing these two elements required a bird's-eye-view, looking past the bird onto the wider cityscape below. I had great fun inventing the city details as I went, incorporating lame jokes and inside barbs at friends and acquaintances. Close scrutiny even reveals a hint of my own face of the '67 Dodge van that served as my studio/home at the time I painted this.