Friday, October 10, 2008

A Series of Chickens

OK, here is one little plan... there is an Arts and Crafts fair coming up at the end of November at my church, for which I've been asked to put up some artwork. I thought I would try and do some 'painting-a-day' paintings (or as close to that as I can get), in small series of four or six to each theme. I doubt if anyone will come to a church A&C Fair and buy a great big painting, so these are little oils on 8"x10" stretched canvases - so they don't need to be framed - the trouble with watercolours.
Starting with Chickens- they bring back happy childhood memories of them scratching around under our big mulberry tree in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, as it was then - Zimbabwe of course now (you never saw such enormous, shiny black mulberries as grew from the richly manured soil of the chicken-coop)... dodging the foul(sorry)-tempered cock to discover the delight of an occasional egg... coming home from trips away to be greeted at the gate by two dogs, two cats and two chickens.... and the trauma (not-happy memory) suffered by my sister Vivienne when her best beloved Little White Hen was presented as dinner one night...It's strange going back to oils after such a long - for me - immersion in watercolours (which I have not abandoned, the oils are for practical reasons). I wasn't quite sure how to begin. I prepared the canvases with a red ground, then sketched in the light value chicken shapes, and then the dark shadows and values - rather backwards foremost I think.

I finished one - once I got going I couldn't stop - though when I see it on screen, I see all the faults I couldn't before, so it needs some more tweaking. I managed to lose most of the red ground, which I rather wanted to show a bit more. That must be one of the values of doing a series - hopefully they get better, or closer to your intentions, as you go along. I think if I can progress with these small themes, I might be psyching myself up for a bigger series later on, that will develop my self-discipline and purpose!


Cheryl Houston said...

I love!

Kari Gibson said...

Oh, what a good idea - yes, I found concentrating on one theme and working almost daily or as daily as I could, was the best way to go. And the canvas idea is a good one. The chickens look great. Keep up the good work!

Vivienne said...

Looking wonderful! Yes I do still think of white hen, "Hen". She was killed by the cook by mistake. He had not realised the sentimental value placed on her particular head.Saw fab chooks at the Royal (Agricultural)Show a week or so ago.Had a great little silky bantam here, "Dudley" after D.Moore... small and sexy!Gave away. Dog bothered too much.XX

Gillian said...

These are great, CPG. And happy memories in that chicken run too. Yes, and not so happy ones too - being attacked by that aggressive rooster. We also lost a little black hen, didn't we? Enoch grabbing the first chook he could get his hands on - sadly the more TAME one!!??
Re. W/C & oils - start the same then? Light space being established first - then build up from there? Like batik?
I guess oils you could start with darks - end with lights - because of the nature of the paint. - Just answered my own question... :)

Marsha Robinett said...

These are just great. Good marketing ideas also. I loved your story. I grew up on a farm and was in charge of gathering the eggs...what an experience. Your story brought back many memories.

Please post the rest when they're done...will be watching for them. best of luck at your show.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Cheryl, and Kari (hi!:o)) - for your encouragement - I hope to keep it up!

VP - were you at the Royal Show in WA, or UK? I'm losing track of you! I wish I could have some live chooks to work from - they're from lots of refs, and you just don't get the subtleties and characters, like Dudley!

We had a black hen GPH - don't remember her fate though... don't follow my methods for oils - it is supposed to be darks up to lights - reverse of w/cs - I'm reading books and advice as I go and keep thinking oops, must check my values, and my tonalities... etc - What I really need are some lessons!

Hello Marsha - I've admired your Extraordinary Pencil for ages! Aren't we fortunate to have those memories - I do worry for children who don't have access to those simple pleasures (including my own!) I will post the chickens as they progress - you can see from my previous comments that I'm not that sure about them, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

prairieknitter01 said...

I really love the basic white hens on the red backgrounds. Wow! Ghost hens!

Growing up, we had some little bantam chickens. Our pet was called "Crow Black One". She died peacefully of old age, cradled in the arms of her loving family. I don't think she ever really liked us much.

Cathy Gatland said...

Hi prairieknitter01 - the 01 must make you related to crowblack01 - lol - the funny thing with hens and cats - we can shower them with all the love in the world and they don't really care!
I know - I quite liked the white ghost hens, but they took me only 5 minutes, so that can't be art..?