Gina Sawin - paintings

Connected at once to earth, water, and sky, birds symbolize delicate ecological balances and, as a motif in my paintings, they suggest our spiritual - and perhaps tenuous - connection to the planet. Here is a small selection of writings that inspire my work.

Tern Group III

The Terns

Mary Oliver

The birds shrug off
the slant air; they plunge into the sea
and vanish
under the glassy edges of the water,
and then come back,
flying out of the waves,
as white as snow,
shaking themselves,
shaking the little silver fish,
crying out
in their own language,
voices like rough bells –
it’s wonderful
and it happens whenever
the tide starts its gushing
journey back, every morning
or afternoon.
This is a poem
about death,
about the heart blanching
in its folds of shadows
because it knows
someday it will be the fish and the wave
and no longer itself –
it will be those white wings
flying in and out of the darkness
but not knowing it –
this is a poem about loving
the world and everything in it;
the self, the perpetual muscle,
the passage in and out, the bristling
swing of the sea

“Nature and abstract forms are both materials for art, and the choice of one or the other flows from historically changing interests.”

Meyer Schapiro

“As individuals, we are easily lost in our world. What helps to save us is equation with other forms of life which are one in the unanimity of being, though differing mysteriously from our own. The birds come out of a great past to give continuity to the present.”

John Hay, “The Great House of Birds”

Egret Flock


From Pablo Neruda,
Translated by Jack Schmitt, The Art of Birds

All day, column after column,
a squadron of feathers
a fluttering airborne
the tiny infinity
of the window where I search,
question, work, observe, wait.

The tower of sand
and marine space
Join there, comprise
song, movement.

Above, the sky unfolds.

So it was: palpitating,
sharp right angles passed
heading northward, westward,
toward open space,
toward the star
toward the spire of salt and solitude
where the sea casts its clocks to the winds.

It was an angle of birds
steering for
that latitude of iron and snow,
inexorably advancing along
the rectilinear road:
the skyborne numbers
flew with the hungry rectitude
of a well-aimed arrow, winging
their way to procreate, formed
by urgent love and geometry.

I kept looking as far as
the eye could see and saw
nothing but orderly flight,
the multitude of wings against the wind:
I saw serenity multiplied
in that transparent hemisphere
crossed by the obscure decision
of those birds in the firmament….

I saw only the flyaway.

All remained celestial…