Garuda, 1971

Having exited graduate school the year previously, I was living in San Francisco with Judy in the Mission District. Our friend Marshall sent us a letter from Nepal. The stamp captivated my imagination. A charismatic bird-human creature that turned out to be Garuda — not himself a god, but a friend of the gods in times of need. I made this painting at that time, and although tons of material objects have slipped away, that painting is still three feet from where I sit when I work, looking down at me. Some people think it resembles me. I didn’t start out to make it that way. It just emerged.