Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing / Oil on black canvas / 5x7  $68 unframed

SINCE I STARTED THE BIRD-A-DAY PROJECT, I have often begun my painting day with a bird painting or two. More or less at random, I choose a bird I'd like to paint, and then go searching for photos to use as the reference. Or I start the day by going through the dozens of photos I've collected, and choosing one. And then I start to paint. 

There's no planning here, outside of the plan to make a bird painting. There is no rhyme or reason. I paint whatever I feel like painting, and, more to the point of this blog post, I paint however I feel like painting. 

Here is what occurred to me as I looked at the photo above: I've made two cedar waxwing paintings, and both of them have had an interestingly smooth look, in the bird and in the background. Here's the previous one: 

The bulk of my bird paintings don't look like this. So there must be something in the cedar waxwing itself that translates it in my mind into smoothness. It could be as simple as the implication of "wax" in the name. Nutty? Maybe. 

But who knows what causes the creative mind to swerve and dip and go in one direction or another? I know I tend to paint cardinals looking like kings, and kingfishers looking like little ruffians. My crows tend to have wild, tumultuous, loud, squawking backgrounds - or not. 

No matter what you do in life, whether you're an artist or an accountant or an architect, I hope that - at least at times - you feel you have the creative freedom to respond to your subject in the way the subject demands, or requests, or implies. 

Saturday Painting Workshop

AS LONG AS THE GREAT CONFINEMENT continues, and perhaps even after that, I'll be giving painting workshops on Saturdays at 1 p.m. Eastern. Right now, they are on my Carrie Jacobson, Artist Facebook page -

The workshops are free, and last about an hour. I use oils and a palette knife, but people use all sorts of art-making supplies and all sorts of tools. I show you how I paint, and walk you through the process - actually, I kind of hurry you through the process, so that you don't have a lot of time to overthink and overworry. 

This week, we're going to paint a photo taken by a friend. She and I have been exchanging photos of the sky, wherever we are, nearly every day for about three years now. This is in her backyard, and I think it will be very fun to paint! 

For Today

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily. 

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches. 

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled 
with light, and to shine." 

- Mary Oliver

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