Thursday, March 4, 2010
It's okay to be a bird nerd.
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.