I've got a long list of all the things that have kept me away from the easel, but in the end... they're excuses. I'm glad to be back at it.
I wanted to start back with something comfortable... a cow! When I went to my "Possibilities" file, I came across these pretty white cows. I'd snapped several photos of these lovely girls a few months ago.
I kind of went about this project in a backwards way. I like to paint images that tell stories or that I have a connection to, but this was just a white cow. I thought surely I had a connection... maybe a beloved character from some children's book that I couldn't put my finger on?? So... here's the backwards part... I Googled "white cow characters." First to pop up was Milky White from the movie Into the Woods... hmmm... not what I had in mind.
Then I came across this little children's novel. I hadn't heard of it... It's new... It's being nominated for literary awards...
... The main character... a white cow that loves poetry... I'm in!
(I went in to the library to find it and was asked by the teenager, "Do you spell that "o..d..d..r..y..?" I'm not kidding, but that's another story.)
I LOVED Audry (Cow) SO MUCH!!!! I love children's books written in creative styles. This one is written in first person oral accounts from all the different farm animals. They each have their own unique voice and perspective. I would love to run into Dan Bar-el on a plane or get caught in an elevator with him and just say, "Good job! Loved your characters." (It reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible only for kids.) I'm thinking that my fourth graders will be hearing from Audrey and her farm friends and forest friends this year when we work on narratives and creating characters with voice.
My favorite quote from the book came on one of the first few pages... had me hooked and rooting for Audrey. I wrote it down. "We Charolais, you will note, are all white - but creamy white would be more accurate. We don't have those black splotches that you find on similar-looking white breeds. Norma says the black splotches give her character and uniqueness. She says it makes her interesting, implying that Charolais are not. But Mother said that Charolais come into the world as blank canvases and our potential is unknown at first."
I LOVE that!!
So... my blank canvas, one stroke at a time, became my Audrey.
I'm going to enjoy her on my own wall while she waits for her permanent home.