Tonight I taught an awesome painting class and returned to my home studio full of creative energy! I wanted to paint, but will wait for tomorrow to have a full day ahead of me, with coffee. I finished the two paintings above this afternoon...acrylic on canvas, 5" x 7" x 1 1/2".
Originally, the lovebird in the tornado was an origami crane, but it looked too sad, lacked contrast and a focal point. There's that art appreciation background creeping into my studio practice! I miss lecturing those classes and I must say that teaching experience really strengthened my critique skills in regards to my own art. These pieces are so similar yet so different-we've got birds and a warm background yet one is on a journey while the other is waiting.
In the lovebird painting on the left, Homeward Bound, he's on his way home, the tornado aiding in his swift passage. A little white picket fence (an obvious yet sweet allusion to the 'dream house') is adorned with a hand-stitched heart garland. Considering all of the movement in the tornado and splashes of color in the bird, I didn't add my signature dot pattern in the background. I use the tornado a metaphor for travel, getting swept from one place to the next safely. I remember in my younger years being terrified of tornadoes, worried I'd get sucked out of the house and thrown down somewhere unfamiliar. I blame the made-for-tv-movie Night of the Twisters and the film Twister. Even after the 90s had passed, there were more than a few times in Clemson that I herded all my pets into the closet under the stairs to wait out a storm with my clock radio. After grad school and plenty of flying and moving, I came to welcome the idea of a wind just carrying me from one place to the next.
Arrival, the painting with the chickadee and pinwheel, is a bit more calm. The bird waits on his sweetheart to return, patiently perched with his party decoration, looking skyward. Since he was so still, I dabbed in the teal dots to break up the space and provide some color contrast in the background. I love dots in my paintings (and polka dots on my shirts, reference my closet for proof); there is something reassuring in the steady pattern. The pinwheel was painted in layers of white, orange, and neon yellow paint. Those neon craft paints are awesome, if you're a painter, go pick some up at your local craft store. Right. Now. Buy the Americana Neons, they are less than two dollars & behave like glazes to make the surfaces pop without being too overpowering.