“Puffed Up” 6×6, oil on canvas Buy Now

It’ll be easy, she said. You’ve done these a hundred times, she smiled. No need to get too fancy too fast. It’s only day 2, for crying out loud.

And then she (ahem…me) proceeded to agonize over this little, tiny, insignificant hummer. I wanted to try some darker backgrounds…nope, that’s funny, let’s go back to neutrals. I want to blur edges, you know, because hummingbirds are so fast, oops, too much, where’d the top of his head go?

It’s funny how when you set out to do something specifically so that it will stretch and challenge you, and you try to beat the system by easing in, starting with what’s so familiar, the thing you can’t mess up, and that’s the thing that really challenges you.

I have battled with hummingbirds and I have lived to tell about it. I think this one is finally as I want it to be (sorta).

My inspiration for this little guy was the Brene Brown quote that I’ve mentioned many times on this blog and have been trying to make my mantra: Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground. Hummingbirds “puff” up when they are cold. Also when they feel threatened.

I’ll be honest, I’m a shrinker. When I feel threatened, I typically sink inside myself. Walk away. And on those rare occasions that I don’t, I’m all puffed up– feathers in my eyes and unable to see that sacred ground I stand on. Recently, when confronted with conflict, I thought about what shrinking would look like. And then what puffing up would involve. And to the best of my ability, tried “stand your ground.” The results are difficult to process. Perhaps this is one of those things that becomes more natural, more fine-tuned the more we practice? You know, like painting.

I’ve got some more birds planned for this month, but also some figure paintings which I’ll say I’m pretty nervous about. Also– don’t forget that every painting this month is 20% off the day I post it. If you don’t want to miss a day, be sure to subscribe to this blog (different from my newsletter) to receive new posts in your inbox.


*** One last thing. I wrote this post before reading today’s news. It feels a bit silly in light of it. To quote my friend Jen, please, “Love each other radically and fearlessly today.”


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