They bring me joy. They are all done in a notebook, simply for my pleasure. So why?
In part because I so strongly believe we need to do things just for us, things that bring us joy.
The birds that visit my bird feeders outside my studio window bring me great, great joy.
My Papa gave me a “Birds of North America” book because I kept calling him to ask what this bird and that bird was. My Papa always knows, just by my description. I love this about him. He’s such a committed nature lover.
One day, I just started to draw a chickadee from the book, then another, and so on. Here’s the thing: I don’t particularly like “realistic” art. I’m of that school that thinks I’d simply take a picture if I wanted to view or paint realism. For me, the joy of painting come from the creativity involved in being “painterly.” Painterly is a term I learned in college that means what it sounds like: that the brushwork and paint take importance over the subject. That a painting show you it is, indeed, a painting. It’s the color pushing into color, the movement of the paint. The way something made me feel versus a rendering of the visual information before you.
These birds have become simple meditations. And they let me keep up on my skill to represent reality. It is true, you do need to know the rules to break them. Art is such a delicious exercise in breaking the rules, when done properly. But mostly, it’s a meditation. I don’t have to be creative, I don’t have to think; the information is already there. I can have a seat and simply draw.
When I paint, my soul goes into the work. I paint standing up because I like the energy it brings to my work. I like the physicality of my work. But sometimes it’s nice to just relax, have a seat and just make little birdies. Let my body, mind and soul relax without thoughts of selling; just something for me. I think we all need a notebook that is just for us, just a guilty little pleasure to stoke the bigger works, just a place all your own.
The by-product of drawing or painting anything is it makes me appreciate the subject more. So my birdies are even more special to me.
The feeders outside my studio sometimes get more visitors than just birds…