Owl and Watermelon Brian Dowdall Painting

U.S.A, c. 1995
19 x 15 in (48 x 38 cm)
ID #BD-Z-14
A surprised owl with wide open eyes sits perched on a watermelon that positively dwarfs the small purple bird. The piece is framed in a raw, wooden frame, giving the painting a rustic feel.

Brian Dowdall was born in Anaconda, Montana in 1948, the oldest of seven children in a first-generation Irish Catholic family. Dowdall spent most of his childhood hiking in the beautiful Montana mountains, and Dowdall said growing up in this constant outdoor setting developed in him a strong kindred spirit with nature and animals—what would later become the central subjects of his paintings. Once he graduated high school, Dowdall left his hometown and spent most of the 1960s hitchhiking across the United States and Mexico, experiencing communal living and farming as he toured the countrys' national parks and wilderness areas. After his decade of self-discovery, Dowdall finally settled down in Florida, where he stayed for the next 33 years. It was in Florida that Dowdall finally started taking up painting more seriously and was soon working alongside southern folk art masters like Mose Tolliver, Jimmie Lee Sudduth, and Purvis Young. Dowdall is best known for his paintings of animal spirits, each set in backgrounds of vivid colors, signifying energy patterns and "celebratory auras." Dowdall referred to animals as the "pure spirits of the earth." He typically painted with tempera or house paint on cardboard in a wooden frame, using a color palette inspired by "the sun, moon, fire, earth, trees, and water." His work has been shown at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and is held in the private collections of notables like Van Morrison, Johnny Cash, and John Glover. Dowdall tragically passed away in 2018 in Baltimore. Of his work, he said: "When I paint I use colors and animals and goddess images that are more loving than this world...I want to show harmony. People tell me my work makes them happy."

Artist: Brian Dowdall

Material: Tempera and house paint on cardboard in a wooden frame

BD-#14

250-500 animal animal spirits art art brut baltimore bird feathers florida folk art food frame fruit maryland montana naive art nature original outsider art owl paintings snack south southern spiritual watermelon wilderness wings

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