I finished this painting about a month ago, but didn’t have time to photograph it properly until now.
A three-legged crow (三足乌) or Golden crow (金乌) is the Sun spirit in Chinese mythology. It lives in the Fusang tree (扶桑), which is a giant mulberry tree in the Eastern Seas, and travels the sky in a carriage every day. Originally there were ten crows and ten suns in the world, but they bothered people by coming out all at once and making the world burn, so some archer shot nine of them down, making the species nearly extinct. Now there’s only one left.
I wasn’t even planning on painting something mythological when I started this one. Actually, I wasn’t planning anything at all – I just had some vague ideas about what colors and shapes I want. But then this white figure started taking form, and there were feathers, and I realised it’s going to be some kind of bird spirit. I love it how unpredictable paintings can be sometimes.
Here’s my latest oil painting:
I’m rereading Pu Songling’s Strange Tales of Liaozhai, so there was a lot of Chinese mythology on my mind lately. The Wind god idea is not from the book though. I was impressed by the Wind god temple in Tainan that we accidentally stumbled upon during my latest trip to Taiwan (by getting off the bus randomly in an unfamiliar part of town), so I looked up some information about Chinese wind deities on the web.
There are different variations of the Wind God’s appearance in Chinese mythology. Some texts describe a bird with a deer’s head, and some tell it the other way around – a deer with a bird’s head. There are also mentions of leopard patterns and a snake’s tail. I chose the bird-body-deer-head version.
Here are some in-progress photos of the painting:
P.S. Art Prints of the painting (along with canvas prints and other products) are available in my Society6 shop: