Gray Jay Graphics is John Miller


Ogiskimanisi, Screen Print, 26" H X 11.75" W, 2019


I'm really pleased that my print Ogishkimanisi was juried into the 2019 Woodson Museum Birds in Art exhibit.

The belted kingfisher female is one of the rare examples of female birds that exhibit more color than the male counterpart. They fish the shallows plying the water edge flitting from perch to perch. Kingfishers are a common presence along waterways I paddle and as often is the case with me, a frequent encounter inspires my interest and desire to learn more about an aquaintence.

In this case I was inspired by a confluence of inspirations. On a trip on the Kiwishiwi River I passed Jackpines overhanging boulders and short rock ledges covered in lichens. Kingfishers were in the area on this spring trip and pollen was falling from the Jacks dusting the water contributing to the water level mark for the season.

Ogishkimanisi is one of the anglo spellings for the Ojibiway name for the bird. In this particular area Ogishkemuncie is another and a lake name coincidentally next to a lake named Kingfisher in English.

As an aside, what you see in this piece is the first level: subject matter. My artistic agenda however is more abstract. Here I set a goal of creating narrow space with visual razzle-dazzle and feeling of great detail. I wanted to float a form in front of everything else without losing the implied shallow space or the clarity of forms. The imagery exists as both surface and space and unlike the normal process of focusing on things in front and then things behind which blurs one or the other, I wanted to have my cake and eat it too so all remains clear. Aerial space is achieved with color shifts and the clarity of forms and shapes is preserved. There is an “edge” to this piece unlike the feeling in most of my other work. In order to achieve a softer feel I would have used one more screen and printed a subtle transparent blue-white over everything except the bird.


Abel Contemporary ; River Arts on Water