Monday, December 7, 2009

Audrey Feeds the Birds 14x18

     It's amazing what a deadline will do for you.  It marks a particular spot in your life, and says, "This must be done by today, or else .......... (fill in the blank)."  That is usually not a good thing.  The 'else' is either something you lose, something you forfeit, or something BAD you GET instead!  If you don't pay your taxes by the deadline, you get more taxes, and another deadline, and more taxes again. If you don't enter something in a contest on time, or have an application in by the deadline, you'll never know what you might have had won, or been offered. You gave up a chance of something potentially good. But deadlines are not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes they force you to do something you really wanted to do, anyway.  When I was painting once a week at Schrodt Art Studio, the rule was that you had to have your next project picked out before you finished your current one.  No big deal, right? Well, since I rushed to finish the orange poppy in time for the show -HA! I met that deadline!,- and then...OH NO! - another deadline! I needed my next painting.  Now.  I had no idea what to paint next.  Especially since I wanted to paint something 'original'.  On my way out the door that Thursday morning, I looked around frantically, thumbed through a couple of photo albums, scanned the mantle for an idea...(what happened to all those ideas I had last year?).. Then I spotted it.  A little picture of my little girl, Audrey, taken when she was about 4 years old. We were on vacation near Destin, Florida, at a little place called The Magnolia House.  This birdfeeder was in the front yard of Nancy Veldman's shop, and she had given Audrey some birdseed to put out for the birds. 'Oh, maybe I can do something with this', I thought.  I grabbed the picture and headed out the door.
      I must say, I really didn't know what I was going to do with it.  They all agreed it definitely had it's possibilities. So I went to office Depot, had it enlarged, twice, had them brighten up the color a bit.  Then I had to decide what size canvas, where to place her on the canvas, what to add, what to crop out, etc.  (This is all new to me, really.)  I decided the enlargement was a perfect size to transfer onto the canvas with graphite paper.  That gave me a rough drawing to start.  I had to finish one side of the birdhouse, add some space on the right side for 'whatever'...As the painting progressed,  I ignored that right side, painted in the grassy area behind the bushes, added the distant trees, and tried to create a park-like setting.  At one point, I painted a path leading out and away from her, but it didn't look 'safe'. (haha)  So I closed it in, added more greenery, more grass, and more trees in the distance until it looked believable.  My palette of colors was so minimal, I had to ask for a blue to match the color of her dress!  (Cerulean Blue, I think, was what I borrowed.)

     This is the finished result. Out of moment of desperation to meet a deadline, I was forced to decide, from a myriad of possibilities, what to create over the next few weeks.  A true moment in time, captured almost casually on a vacation to the Gulf Coast, has now become a painting that I truly can't believe I did.  Honestly.  I'm almost afraid to tackle something like this again.  What if I can't paint another thing this well again?  Then I think, 'Well, perhaps I will,.... if I must..., in order to meet a deadline!' 

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