L. Richard has created a world of sentient beauty, with a Rococo inspired palette of dusky pastels in his oil painting Ready For Song, with deep Romantic undercurrents running throughout, articulated through the landscape and subject matter presented. Idyllic and serene, border lining on escapist, Richard’s composition depicts a menagerie of exotic birds grouped together harmoniously perched upon lush foliage in the upper echelons of a forest canopy, each one unique, like the flowers that are blossoming rampant all around in profusion.
This Romantic ode to nature expresses a deep inclination to connect to the sublime, or as a core ideal of Romanticism is expressed by Gary Harrison, “an intense desire to restore man to a place of intimate intercourse with the vast organism that constitutes the earth.” Even though this piece has been painted in contemporary times, it has timeless qualities due to its formal influences of prior artistic epochs of the Rococo and the Romantic.
In a representational manner that is controlled and precise in areas, L Richard suppresses his brush strokes where he desires attention, especially in the birds and flowers. The expressive paint application is impressionistic for the background elements and foliage receding from the viewer’s focus. This attention to detail of the natural world is utilized through exquisite rendering; L. Richard’s skill beckons to Romantic yearnings for a return to a spiritual haven expressed through the exotic, and in turn facilitates in the viewer a renewed reverence for nature.
Birds play a prominent role in Richard’s current work. Since he has ceaselessly chosen to portray them in his landscapes their significance should not be overlooked. One interpretation of bird symbolism has its origins from ancient Egypt, where birds were regarded as “winged souls”. As each bird is perched upon the mossy appendages of the forest, with three on the left and two on the right, facing towards each other, there is a quiet impasse in the center of the picture plane where the light has the most concentrated luminescence. The behavior of the birds in L. Richard’s canvases is always of peaceful benevolence towards each other, which brings to mind the words of Hildegard de Bingen, “…Just as birds are lifted up into the air by their feathers and can remain wherever they wish, the soul in the body is elevated by thought and spreads its wings everywhere”.
Even though L. Richard’s has strong roots in Rococo, especially under the influences of the artist, Fragonard, there are visual metaphors that can be inferred from his art is modern day Romanticism. With careful attention placed on the birds, especially with their delicate placement in their pristine environment they are elevated to the best of his intentions and serve as meditation to remember the highest spiritual state is possible within humanity.
Gallery Consultant/Framing Designer
J.R. Mooney Gallery, Boerne Texas
Harrison, Gary. "Romanticism, Nature, Ecology." Romantic Circles. University of Maryland., Dec.
2006. Web. 09 Jan. 2015.
Ehrlich, Paul R., David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye. "Bird Biology and the Arts." Bird Biology and
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"Birds." Birds. University of Michigan, 1997. Web. 09 Jan. 2015.