The title “American Nonpareil” was chosen to reflect the unique symbolism of the Bald Eagle in this country-- a bird that is in many respects without equal. I borrowed the term from another American feathered wonder, the Painted Bunting (referred to in French as “Nonpareil”).
It is a challenge, capturing “an expression “ in an avian subject like the eagle, while retaining an element of realism. Any eagle can be fierce or benign, or even funny (cross-eyed if viewed face-on) in appearance. What I did attempt to depict was an expression of determination, of awareness, of confidence- not hostile, but a look that says “I am never intimidated.” The Bald Eagle is one of the most majestic birds in the world, and we are very fortunate that the founders of this republic chose the Bald Eagle (rather than the turkey, Ben Franklin’s recommendation) to be the emblem of America. Although something like “White-Crowned Eagle” would have been more accurate, and a more stately-sounding name, the imposing figure of the Bald Eagle has remained a great source of pride for a nation.
America is experiencing an incredibly challenging period, and many of our citizens have been led down an errant path, questioning their own good fortune of being born into the greatest nation ever founded. Shortly after the 9/11 event, there was a period when most Americans felt that we were once more united as a country, ready to face (and erase) our suddenly-identifiable enemies. But some 14 years later, as that memory gradually has faded, our determination has gradually eroded into complacency and we are more divided than ever. It might be that our country will become united again only after another catastrophic event… but that would be at an extremely great price- an unnecessary cost. “Eagle-eyes” were achieved in nature because the bird needed to see distant horizons, not because they were needed in searching for nits to pick .
The magnificent symbol of the United States, the Bald Eagle survived a period when it appeared doomed to extinction-- but today it continues to soar, and even to thrive. Most likely, so will the country it uniquely represents. It’s time for America to look again in the mirror. Sooner or later there will be an eagle looking back.
Larry K. Martin
The painting “American Nonpareil” includes a rather abstract, but natural background. Look for the same image to be released soon, with a modified background, incorporating the American flag.
Acrylic / Mix Media on Rag Board
20" x 16"
Framed, with museum glass, and acid-free mats.