Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Jays are Back in Town

While I plod away at this raven painting, some other paintings and drawings, finish my website and do all the other stuff in my life that needs my attention, I'll leave you with the sweet sounds of spring in my backyard. Steller's jays have begun nest building. My husband shot this 17 second (spectacularly uneventful) video 2 years ago when their fledglings where hopping about in our yard. Beautiful birds, but bold and noisy. The sound they make, right outside my bedroom window, fills me with fantasies of slingshots and BB guns. Nooooo, I would never, of course, but they do make crow caws sound like the Vienna Boys Choir.

Some of you may have seen this artist profiled on the popular website, My Love for You is a Stampede of Horses.

Kate MccGwire, creates sculptures with various organic mediums. Her pigeon feathered organic sculptures are full of grotesque beauty, fascinating yet disturbing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's okay to be a bird nerd.

Great Horned Owl
12"x12" Acrylic
Ellen Sereda

It took me about 2 weeks to paint this picture. It was tedious and required concentrated effort or I would lose my place in all the pattern. For some unknown masochistic reason, I threw out the art school rules and painted it with the thinnest, tiniest brush I own, putting on 6 layers of acrylic glazes to get the depth I was after. It felt like art self flagellation in the beginning. As though I was punishing myself for my crappy attention span and increasingly poor ability to focus.

Somewhere about 2/3 of the way through, everything changed. I settled into a rhythm and concentration was easy. I also didn't care about the outcome, the process was so engaging and meditative, I was in the zone applying paint, brush stoke after brush stoke. I let myself go in the process of slowly rendering the illusion of something real with paint. It felt such like a healthy refuge from the sometimes chaotic busyness of life. A direct contrast from the speed and distractive nature of phones, email and social networking sites (FACEBOOK). To get a fascinating and sometimes sobering look into digital media and the effect it's having on our lives, check out Frontline:Digital Nation (you can watch it online). You blogging, facebooking, tweeting people need to see it.

I also had to give myself permission to paint the owl for no other reason than I like them. I'm guilty of that annoying characteristic of Canadians - apologizing. I had a nagging little voice inside me say, "Sorry, I'm going to paint this owl because I'm a bird nerd, oh, sorry for that too. This owl's name is Hagrid, a young great horned owl and is part of the Birds of Prey program at the Vancouver Zoo and my daughter got to hold it! Sorry for boring you with the details and getting so excited. But it was a special day. Okay. I'll stop now. Sorry"

I'm over that now, I've been busy painting many other feathered creatures I've snagged photos of recently, which I hope to post soon. I'm unapologetically going to paint what I want, which was what I was doing before anyway, just feeling guilty about it, for no sensible reason whatsoever . Neurotic, I know. If you have the same problem as me about being self depreciating about your art, read this, and get over it. Now, must get back to put the finishing touches on a house finch. Later, good people.