Monday, May 4, 2020

Great Horned

Great Horned Owl / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


SKIPPED A DAY HERE, not because I didn't have the paintings, but because... I forgot. Me being me. 

And that is a thing I've realized about painting, Popeye - you am what you am. You paint who you are. 

If you are a detail person, painting detail is what delights you. If you're a big picture person, your painting is probably not going to focus on details. 

Some of this is obvious - if you love color, as I do, your paintings will tend to be colorful. Not such a fan of brightness? You will make quiet pieces, subtle and carefully toned. 

I think that painting, or any art, really, is a way to find out who you are - and so it works frontwards and backwards. By the time I started painting, I had already realized that I wasn't a great detail person - but I didn't understand that that was a defining part of my character. 

I've noticed, at the shows and in life, that most kids are happy, eager artists. They love to create, and they create exactly who they are. Exactly how they see the world. At about 12, a lot of them begin to measure themselves against others. Many of them leave paint and color and begin to draw. They leave fresh, bright paintings for detailed, serious, black and white pieces. Art becomes work - and guess what? They don't like doing it so much. 

It always makes me sad when I meet a kid and we start talking art and she tells me she likes to draw but she isn't very good. My best hope is that she will find the joy again, stop measuring herself against others, and just create. 

Bird a Day Video

WHILE I WAS FORGETTING to post this owl, I was making a video of the Bird A Day project so far. You can watch it on YouTube - it's pretty fun, I think! 

For Today

The Poetry Teacher

The university gave me an new, elegant
classroom to teach in. Only one thing,
they said. You can't bring your dog.
It's in my contract, I said. (I had
made sure of that.)

We bargained and I moved to an old
classroom in an old building. Propped
the door open. Kept a bowl of water
in the room. I could hear Ben among
other voices barking, howling in the 
distance. Then they would all arrive - 
Ben, his pals, maybe an unknown dog
or two, all of them thirsty and happy.
They drank, they flung themselves down
among the students. The students loved
it. They all wrote thirsty, happy poems.

- Mary Oliver
"Dog Songs"

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