Recently, I came in from my studio for a drink of water and noticed a group of birds at our feeders that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. I was so excited that I sent a text to my husband, “The Siskin’s are back, the Siskin’s are back!” Observing them a few seconds longer I noticed something was wrong, they were way too calm and there were too few of them to be Siskins. It was at that moment that I was reminded the very reason I was inspired to paint The Bird-Watcher series.
When we first put bird feeders out we were continually looking at our bird books trying to identify the different visiting species, some looked very much alike but acted or carried themselves differently. One day a particularly loud, obnoxious, feisty, territorial flock of birds flew in. We had never experienced such frenzy at our feeders. They looked like female Gold Finches but we’d never noticed them acting out like this, were they their cousins the Pine Siskin? I called a friend…it was confirmed, they were Pine Siskins, identifying factor #1, frenzy. It was at that point the idea to illustrate the bird species and their temperament in its natural habitat began to formulate. It was nothing I’d ever seen in bird books or bird art before. (If you’re interested in more background you can check out earlier posts, “Bird’s?…Here’s Why” and “An Unlikely Bird Watcher.”)
This is where nostalgia comes into play, because last month I sold this painting.
I never thought I’d even put a price tag on it because it was a first for me in so many ways, but I did for the 2nd Annual Clark County Open Studio Tours, which I participated in last November. Obviously it was the first in The Bird-Watcher Series, but is was also my first completed oil painting, (I’d always worked in acrylic before) and my first painting directly from a still-life set-up. The only photo references were the photos I took of the birds…they just wouldn’t hold still for me inside. I also used some frozen ones that I’d retrieved from hitting the window or possibly from the cat…but we won’t go there. It was also juried into the American Women Artist’s 15th Annual Sale and Show in Tubac, AZ; won a sponsor award and People’s Choice Award at the Battle Ground Art Alliance Spring Show and received Best in Show at the Clark County Fair. Besides all those things, I loved the piece and it looked great in my entry way.
None-the-less, when someone comes in and begins to tear up as they describe the emotional connection they feel from a painting and they tell you that they want to purchase the piece, there is no amount of nostalgia that can keep me from selling it. To create a piece of work that brings about an emotional response in another is a humbling, sacred experience for me. This is WHY I paint! I am still in awe. As I enter a new year and plunge into new works, it is my souls intent to portray the pure, the innocent, the wild, and the grand beauty that we live in. The raw moments in nature where living and dying exist. I look forward to sharing that journey with you. You’ll be hearing a LOT more from me this year!