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The Piper and the Tide

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

20 years ago I found myself at a precipice in my artistic development. I had started a job for a local grocery store doing signage and merchandising displays. While it was a decent paying gig with benefits, it was not by any means the way I had hoped to demonstrate my "artistic voice ". My only solace was that I was getting paid for my creative capacity.

My voice as an artist was in a weird state of suspended animation. I was always thinking about painting but had little time for orchestrating one. Never mind a whole sustained body of work. Throw in starting a family as well, so something had to yield.

The autumn of 1999 I did find the time to do a piece that depicted what painting and being an artist meant to me. I must admit that some of the symbolism is trite, no my head isn't on a stick, but I do feel that the piece has a strong alagory. Let me break down a few of those elements.

Untitled, 2012

By Bobby Padilla

Acrylic on wood, 12"×12"

The Piper is a shore bird that scurries the rhythm of the tide along a coastline to find wherever sustenance the ocean traces. To me, the Artist is the Piper who negotiates the edge of sandy terra firma of fact, knowledge, and life experiences. All we know to be real and tangible. Against the deep wide ocean of emotions, subconsciousness, and the surreal. Trying to find creative nourishment.

The blue tree centered with roots reaching and clutching star shaped seedings. The branches seemingly in bloom to hold Spring eternal. So my head floating juxtaposing the stability of the tree. I'm Looking down, lost in thought or restful or even dreaming. This speaks to the "out of body" feeling I get when deeply immersed in painting. Yeah, I know...I did say it was trite, and to be fair I painted this 20 years ago.

The birds on either side of my head. A dove representing hope and promise, peace and understanding of what was and can be. The other bird a Phoenix. Redemption and the determination to rise above doubt and daily shortcomings. To relinquish the worries of what we have no control over. The fiery resolve of the future and it's uncertainties.

This resides on the wall beside my bed. It's the first thing I see when I open my eyes and the last image I see before I turn out the lights. It's not the finest painting I've done, but to me it's one of the most eloquent. I hope to share more paintings with you from my past in the hopes of giving you insight into my humble journey as an artist.

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