Autumn Circus is my first foray into full Romantic composition. In it I am trying to pull all of the elements of landscape symbolism into the painting. The size and scope of the painting are more than I have ever done before.
"Something Wicked This Way Comes" begins with a warning about the Autumn Circus, and its ominous message. Across the Willamette River the actual tents of Cirque de Soleil can be seen. It was very convenient of them to set up there for my painting, and they are the spark that made me stop my bike and begin this panorama.
I set up my cart and my new canopy tent at a wayside along the newly constructed Springwater Bike Path for the next three months. Autumn transitioned into carnival colors as I worked. The triple arches of the bridge span, past, present, and future, as they became the setting for a "Flying Dutchman" sighting. That is me playing the Dutchman in my little Day Sailor.
After completing as much as I could before winter really kicked me off site, I moved indoors. There, I added a few elements to the painting. To open the door to curiosity, I transferred the crows from Van Gogh\\\\'s final painting to the hill face. If you get a print of Crows Over a Wheat Field, you can compare them, bird for bird in the painting.
The gathering storm is not fictional. The weather pattern is actually common over the West Hills. But I did add the faint shadow of two Homeland Security jets emerging from the clouds.
This is the Stern Wheeler Rose. I am using her to establish this bridge arch as the past. Also, hidden in the bush is an abandoned bird nest.
In the Center is the Portland Spirit. Today she plays the role of the faceless masses tumbling blindly along. They are unaware that the Flying Dutchman has passed, or what that means.
There are many more references and symbols in the painting. I would not want to spoil the whole movie. I have to leave something for the future audiences to play with.