Bateman: New Works by Robert Bateman
By Robert Bateman
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Extra resources for Bateman: New Works
I added two white-backed vultures—perhaps one of the few creatures that will be compatible with this blighted future. Sentimentality in art has a bad name, sometimes falling into a juicy pit described as schmaltz. But that doesn’t mean it should be avoided like poison. It has value but should be approached with restraint. I couldn’t resist the two domestic scenes with family dogs. It is sad but true, though, that domestic animals in the Western world often have better living conditions than millions of humans in the developing world.
A sharp-shinned hawk swooped down and nailed the unsuspecting bird. The hawk—like all accipiters—is kind of hatchet-faced, but it has a delicate little bill and large lustrous eyes. I tried to capture that. The hawk’s underparts are nearly the same color as the thrush’s, an orangey-salmon pink, and its back is similar in color; it made a nice unit. I played with the shapes of the little snow patches and mossy rocks in the setting and brought in those abstract qualities. Most predators are also scavengers—they are opportunists.
Over the next few months, images came to me of elegant Japanese screens with gold-leaf backgrounds and graceful cranes in the foreground; I have always liked the use of gold leaf in those pieces. In Serengeti Dusk, it was risky to combine gold leaf with a realistic image, but it was worth the try. For Still Life with Chinese Scroll, I was thinking of the peace and elegance of the tokonoma, an alcove often found in Japanese homes and teahouses, where special artwork, calligraphy, or flower arrangements may be displayed.