Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Art of Chickens

The Art of Chickens   

(from my post in ArtsyJourneys) 

Artists seem to ponder the most absurd things sometimes.....take the chicken for instance-good for baking, casseroles, frying and yum-lots of eggs.That's about where most people end their thoughts about this versatile bird.
But sometimes the smallest and least conspicuous thing in your day to day world can have the most  interesting history, tantalizing colors and absorbing social scene. And the chicken has it all.
We just added chickens back to our mini "homestead" farm and art studio. We had them 10 or so years ago but lacked the proper fencing.....oh we had plenty of fencing and the bills to show it...just not the type to totally foolproof ranging neighborhood dogs. The numbers dwindled and we gave the last few roosters to a farmer.
Now I had chickens when my children were small-in fact in another life (it seems) I had a Grade A Dairy Goat farm licensed for making feta cheese. My chickens were the Aracaunas and other mixes so we routinely collected pale blue and green "Easter Egg" eggs plus the white and brown. So I am very familiar with the work and rewards of such a life :-)And it is hard to sty away from!
The first batch 6 weeks old March 1. 10 of them!

So the first batch we picked up locally and they are a trip. Alert, inquisitive-s a few very friendly ones, the others a bit stand-offish. Their treat is bread pieces. A mixture of Buff Barringtons, Speckled as well as purebred.

5 month old Dorkings
The next ones are also local-from a Dorking breeder outside Louisburg, NC. Ancient breed-pretty feathers-4 hens about old enough to lay...5 toes...originally brought over to the British Isles by Romans! Regal aren't they? 

Ah well, the kids interaction with a chicken is no problem! The youngsters below were at an art lesson at our studio and did not hesitate to walk in with the chicks and hold our gentle ones!

So as artists we find ourselves studying the colors.  As humans we find ourselves smiling at their antics.....listening to the multitude of sounds-clicks, murmurings, croonings that are unique to a chicken....and hey, who knows how we, and our many students of all ages,  will incorporate feathers and colors into our art?

I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Child's Portrait as a Family Tradition

I love it when clients have a family history of portraiture and they come to me for a portrait to continue that tradition!  I know that a family portrait is valuable to them. They understand the emotional and long term appeal of capturing a moment forever in a way that a camera cannot! 
Often the earlier portraits have something in common-an expression, a pose, medium or a location. In this case, with the 16 x 20 pastel portrait of little Harper that I just completed, her expression and the fact that it was created in pastel, mimic the earlier portraits of her father, uncle and grandfather! How fun!

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