Discards & Discovery: Fossil and Lily

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Originally, I had a different plan for this painting. I found this fossil in a quarry in Sylvania Ohio when I was 14. The fossil is 300 million years old, give or take a 50 million years. The fossil is surprisingly heavy being comprised of mostly pyrite (fools gold). It feels much more like a piece of cast iron in your hand than a stone. It’s about 3 inches across and even though I had drawn the fossil before, simply working in a larger scale of a 30″ x 30″ canvas forced me to consider the symmetry of the odd shape in a new way. While the oil sketch was setting up a bit, I took a break. When I was out, I came across some calla lilies and changed the direction of the painting that afternoon.

The fossil is substantial with age beyond comprehension. The lily by contrast is freshly cut, delicate and already beginning to wilt, and yet there is a commonality of shape and form separated by millions of years.

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