Day 19. Letting the Light in

“Cracked” 11×14, oil on canvas Buy Now

Yesterday I talked about about Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” which inspired yesterday’s painting. Well, the line “there is a crack in everything/that’s how the light gets in” really stuck with me. I created this pelican with that in mind.

I start every painting I do with a cad red wash underneath– I want little pieces of it to show through the image. This time I was extra mindful of that idea. I used my palette knife and tried to keep the different colors and values of the bird separate– letting the little light of the red show through. The bird feels cracked to me. And beautiful.

What do you think?

Every painting this month is 20% off the day it’s posted. Just a friendly reminder 😉

Day 14. It’s Not You, It’s Me.

“First Love” 6×6, oil on canvas Buy Now

I know. I know. I don’t appreciate you as much as I should. The great blue heron with his great colors– blue, and purple and orange if you look closely enough and the egret with her grace– a white flash against purple skies. They have been my undeniable favorites, and I’ve marveled at them– their long necks and thin legs over your unfortunate grey-ness. 

But don’t think for a moment you don’t take my breath away when I’m on a boat and you fly beside me, reminding me that you too have surprising grace in the air. Or when you’re with a whole host of friends (herons and egrets tend to be less gregarious) and that long-beaked shape in repetition creates a beautiful, unending pattern that I’ve not seen anywhere else. 

I have not forgotten that it was you, your color, your shape, your presence in my life on Bayou St. John that first made me want to paint again. And though I often ignore you now that the thrill has subsided, it is you whom I turn to when I want to try new techniques, new colors, new ideas about painting. On day 14 I turn to you again trying to figure out how to reveal your majesty in as few shapes as possible, an exercise that was so fascinating that I quickly started a friend for tomorrow’s painting. 

 

Life Is Like a Box of Pelican Paintings

Life Is Like a Box of Pelican Paintings

30x40in, oil on canvas. Buy Now

The pelican above has been my arch nemesis for months. We’ve been fighting. My weapon of choice– the palette knife. His– wings that reached on and on forever. They nearly knocked me out.

At first I thought the issue was the background. I couldn’t find suitable colors. They were either too bold for the pelican or too flat, forcing him to star in the painting in a way he wasn’t capable of. He needed to be part of his space. Not sitting on top of it or competing with it.

But the real issue ended up being those blasted wings. Perhaps it was a subconscious desire for him to extend his metaphoric reach, but sometimes you can only get so far before nature tells you, “That looks weird. Metaphors be damned.” (more…)