Saturday, September 26, 2015

Single Tulip (Reflected)

I wish I could show how really pretty this little painting is. But, alas, I've given up. I've taken dozens of photos... different light, different angles, different, places... ugh... I have got to take a class in photography or at least get a friend who's really good at it. 
If you're that person, (Renee, maybe?) that has some advice, let's hear it.
Until then, you'll just have to trust me, that it's really a nice little painting! Really!

I love the background.  It's "black" but done entirely with alizarin (deep, rich red) and viridian (deep, rich green).

I love the elegance in simplicity.

If you (realize that my painting is better than my photography and) would like to purchase this little painting, click "Single Tulip (Reflected)."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rooster at the Hen House

How about that tail! Pretty fabulous, but I wonder if he ever wishes he could just take it off for a while. 

One day this spring this fella, whose name was Mr, was walking around keeping an eye on things at our local strawberry farm. All his lady friends were inside a fence, but  he got to roam around with all the people.

He was so gorgeous that I snapped a bunch of photos of him thinking I'd love to paint his portrait. When choosing a reference photo, I noticed one... His head was turned back... maybe watching one of his lady chickens as she was heading into the coop.  The coop was red... the grass was green... one door was down, the other up... a hen was on the ramp!  What a story!  I wonder what he was saying... clucking... crowing to her!  Probably, "See ya' after while, Sweetheart."

When I started painting, my thoughts were of Charlton the Third, the rooster in my new favorite bunch of farmyard friends from Dan Bar-el's Audrey (Cow). He was a hoot! And, he did play a big part in "making it happen" in an exciting part of the story, but Charlton was kind of... hmmm... silly... kind of in love with himself with a bit of a snooty-Shakespearean attitude.  That didn't fit for this guy.

As Mr. began to show up on my canvas, however, a different rooster kept coming into my mind. 
When my kids were very little, an animated movie (not Disney) came out called Rock-A-Doodle. One of the main characters was a rooster, a very cool rooster in an Elvis kind of way, named Chanticleer.  While I was painting, I kept hearing him (through Glen Campbell's voice) singing... 
Cock-a-doo! What a day!  The sun is shining brightly!
Cock-a-doo! What a day! Down here on the farm!

Unfortunately for me, I'm lyric-challenged... can't remember more than two lines of any song, but oh, well, I love those two lines.

Maybe one of these days I'll get around to painting a few of Mr.'s ladies.  I've got a good chicken story (and even a blurry black and white photo to go with it) from when I was a little girl.  FYI - That chicken from my memory was named Big Red.


Monday, September 7, 2015

White Cow (a.k.a. Audrey)

I'm so glad to have finished this painting. I guess I've been in a dry spell... It's been a couple of months since I've painted, and I was a secretly a little bit worried that I'd forgotten how to do it.

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.