What often vexes me is that painting is like having a bad mistress...Read More
A Glossary of Chickens
There should be a word for the way
they look with just one eye, neck bent,
for beetle or worm or strewn grain.
"Gleaning," maybe, between "gizzard"
and "grit." And for the way they run
toward someone they trust, their skirts
hiked, their plump bodies wobbling:
"bobbling," let's call it, inserted
after "blowout" and before "brood."
There should be terms, too, for things
they do not do –like urinate or chew–
but perhaps there already are.
I'd want a word for the way they drink,
head thrown back, throat wriggling,
like an old woman swallowing
a pill; a word beginning with S,
coming after 'sex feather" and before "shank."
And one for the sweetness of hens
but not roosters. We think
that by naming we can understand,
as if the tongue were more than a muscle.
- Gary J. Whitehead
I found this poem in a book of the same name. The book was in a box full of free stuff outside of a neighbors house. When I saw the title I knew I had found a treasure. I love chickens as I do all animals and like to believe they have personalities and thoughts just like people do. That may sound crazy, and yes, I do like to dress my pets up on occasion. (But that's pretty common, right?)
I like the last two lines of the poem. Perhaps by naming we are trying to understand, by painting we are trying to understand as well. I am not sure if we really do though. Maybe our brain like our tongue is really a muscle and not as capable as we think.
I recently went on a tear painting chickens. I thought of the series more like chicken portraits. I imagined grand lives and personality traits for each one I painted. Most of them are proud, one of them is gentle, one is really pissed off and one is inquisitive but really scared. Can you guess which is which? Here they are collected below. I hope you like them. There are definitely more to come...
If you liked these chickens leave a comment or buy a painting!
Talk to you later!
Well January has come to a close and I think I did pretty well on my attempt at consistent daily painting. I did not paint every day of January (I knew I would not paint when friends were in town) but I came pretty close.
I painted 23 out of 31 days. I finished 16 paintings. I started two canvases that are still in progress. I sold two paintings from the month without even pushing it. (Thank You Collectors!) I listened to hours and hours of podcasts! All in all, I think it was a pretty successful challenge.
What was the most important thing I learned from this foray into daily painting? That for better or worse the more I paint, the more I want to paint! Painting (of any kind) is the place I find my bliss. Its the place my soul finds restoration and my spirit's vibration is raised. I go into my studio at 9:00 and before I can blink its almost 4:00pm, my kids are coming home and my painting day is over.
The interesting thing is, in the past I have always thought "finding the time" would be the hard thing about making a commitment to my creativity. Once I made the mental commitment that I would be spending some portion of most of my days painting, everything just some how fell into line. Sort of the same way you know that every day you will eat dinner and plan accordingly for that.
January is done and there are still 11 months left in 2017. I will not say I am going to paint everyday because some days are for museums, exploring the world and filling your creative well in other ways. But, now that I have pledged to my art my most valuable asset (my time) and see that it is not daunting but in fact liberating, I have no plans to slow down!
Is there an activity you do that makes time stand still and leaves you in a state of bliss?
If not, can you commit to exploring what it could be?
If there is, can you do it more often?
Let me know! I want to hear what it is for you.
Lately, I have seen so many beautiful sunsets. I have risked my life trying to get my iPhone out to take a picture of them while driving in the car. (Do not tell my husband, he does not want to know that!) My kids make fun of how I babble about all the oranges, salmons, pinks, purples and blues. My youngest even took a stealth video of me going on and on about the sky one evening. Have you ever seen the double rainbow video on YouTube? It was almost like that.
One of my favorite artist, 18th century Spanish painter Louise Melendez, combined his still-lifes with dramatic backgrounds. He would often throw in a sunset or pretentious landscape behind his melons and the effect was stunning. I thought I would try the same with my little still life painting today.
Pomegranates are not only beautiful but symbolic. They symbolize fertility and abundance because of their multitude of hidden seeds. Jews eat their 613 seeds on Rosh Hashanah, Muslims place them in the Garden of Paradise, Persephone was tricked into eating pomegranate seeds and had to stay in the underworld with Hades, Turkish people crack them on NewYears's and according to Wikipedia the pomegranate is the symbol of Armenia. (Really, why are people not painting more pomegranates?)
Today's daily Painting is Chesnuts. Europeans seem to love them. They have been in the grocery stores since the fall and you can always find them roasted downtown.
My memory of chestnuts is from my childhood in SC. My aunts had a huge chestnut tree. I don't remember ever eating the Chesnuts but the husks were always laying around the yard sharp and spiky, ready to stab your feet through your shoes. Summertime was especially treacherous.
Chestnuts are beautiful, if you really look at them. Wonderful tones of brown and umber, it does make you want to roast them up or put them in your stuffing. I found these two on the sidewalk but after painting them, I think I am intrigued enough to buy a bag at the store.
This is day four of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.
Back to oil painting after about six weeks. I felt a little rusty but anything feels that way when you're not used to it. For example; I am also trying to start the year off right by cooking and eating healthier- that feels weird too!
Best of luck to everyone else out there who is trying to start the year off right. ;-)