In the Middle Ages, it was believed that when food was scarce, a pelican would use her beak to pierce her own breast so that her blood could serve as nourishment for her young. Stained-glass images of a pelican piercing herself are often found in churches (a great many in Scotland, it seems), where the depictions of the pelican symbolize Christ's sacrifice. An alternate story, which I don't like nearly as much, is that the pelican first kills off her young, and then uses her blood to resurrect them.
When I first saw this week's topic, I didn't know what to think. Sacrifice. Dang. I had no idea what to draw. I wondered if I'd be able to participate at all. I'm not a fan of gore, and I wasn't really inspired to sketch a religious scene. So, being the dork that I am, I hit the books. As soon as I came across the symbolic meaning of pelicans, my lips instantly curled up into a smile. I had my concept.
In creating this piece, the medium I used was soft pastel. I had initially wanted to do a stained-glass type piece by cutting linoleum (which I still think would be really interesting), but I wasn't able to gather the necessary materials. Also, when my eyes fell on my pastel set, I basically picked up a pastel stick and started sketching. And since I started, I might as well finish, right?
The species of pelican in my piece is the brown pelican, pelecanus occidentalis. (Random Fact: The Eastern Brown Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana.) I have to admit, I had a mishap with the background. I pretty much freaked out when my clumsy hands smudged some black into my blue skies. So I rubbed it. Bad idea. Took me waaaay longer than it should have to correct. But mishaps aside, I'm quite pleased with the finished product.
I debated whether to add a few drops of blood on the mother pelican's chest or not. Yes I should. Then again, maybe not. Yes. No. Yes. No. ARGH! So I decided to leave the blood drops off for the moment, and see if anyone has an opinion/suggestion about this. Either that, or I'll take another look at it a couple a week or two later, and then decide for sure.