For the Birds

Birds look at us, and they’re glad that we can’t fly.

We look at them, and we wish that we could.”

― Anthony T. Hincks  Goodreads

Most of my art practice and teaching up until a couple of years ago, focused almost entirely on landscape and botanical subjects. The landscapes have been a sort of expressionist/impressionist outpouring of emotional color and texture while the botanicals are sedate, calm and realest.  Two sides of the coin would be an apt description. Then the birds flew in.

It happened as an unplanned thing.  Birds, since childhood, have held a fascination for me.  They are amazing creatures.  Why, I can’t imagine, did I never think of painting them.  It just didn’t occur to me, even though I loved watching them at my feeders.  My feeders were always set up where I could see them from my workspace windows. The bird’s antics were inspiring and joyful.

A couple of years ago, I was taking my work to art fair venues.  Quickly, I learned the best tactic for financial success in these venues was to have a selection of things that were inexpensive and easy for people to carry around as they browsed the fair. The large landscapes definitely didn’t fit with that idea.  The botanical watercolors did a bit better.  Quite by accident, I discovered mini canvases in the art supply store and began trying my hand at painting small.  The small canvases seemed the best suited to flowers rather than landscapes.  The little flowers sold fairly well at the fairs so I looked for more venues to sell them.

Heart and Hands is a shop on Main Street in Franklin, Tennessee that carries arts and crafts made locally.   The little flower canvases were a good fit in the shop and began to sell at a decent rate.  One day while talking with one of the owners, she asked if I painted birds. She thought they might have a market for paintings of birds.  It was a light bulb moment for me.  I loved birds so why not?

And so it began! The first birds were the ones at my feeders and they are still the most popular.  Hummingbirds and cardinals are the most frequent visitors to my feeders and the most common subjects for the paintings.  The paintings each seem to have a life of their own like the subjects they depict. No matter how small or how many I paint, each one is unique.  I don’t seem to be able to control that.  In some ways, they paint themselves.

With the change in my art to mostly birds, has come a bit of life change.  I am now addicted to roaming around with camera in hand, searching for birds, all kinds of birds, all sorts of places. The more I follow the birds, the more amazing I find them. I don’t know how I’ll find enough time to paint all of them but I’m going to try. It appears that my life is suddenly all  for the birds.

New Beginnings

The whole social media, website, newsletter, etc stuff can get so complicated and time consuming it leaves no time for other things like, oh painting maybe.  I’m figuring that I can spend a great deal of time trying to keep up with all of the different platforms and keep people informed in each one or I can choose to go with one platform for everything.  My goal is to use this site for everything but to also keep it fun and informative.

On this site, I’ll inform buyers and dealers of my latest painting and photography endeavors and where they are available or can be made available. Anybody interested in artwork will be able to click a page and there will be all the options. Actually, that is the ultimate goal, at least!

Next, I’ll keep folks up on potential classes and workshops coming up and where each one is located.  It will be a lot easier to have one platform that will show all classes.  I would love to hear from people on preferences for how that will work on the site.  I can have a page to click on or a calendar on the front page or a calendar on both pages.  Whatever will make it the easiest for everybody is how I want to set this up.

Tips and demonstrations is an area I’m looking for options to set up.  I have been exploring podcasts and other similar formats to show the latest painting techniques so that I can share new things and help others with their skills.  And possibly add a section for questions and answers for people who are working through issues in their own art.  If I can figure out how to do it, I’d like to add a forum for group critique like we do in the workshops so we can all help each other.

And I’d like to add what I’m doing in my own art.  Where I’m going with my work and where I’d like to see it going.  The gallery will be one avenue for that.  The blog is another.

After much trial and error, this is where I have ended up.  Opinions are always helpful. Please let me know what yours are!


The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton