I imagine what it would feel like to hold one of these baby birds, and I get the jibblies*. In some ways, I would enjoy the feeling of caring for a chick (not that I know how to).
But what really gets me is how delicate they are. Its head and body would just lie limp in my hands. I would look down at its wrinkly, see-through skin, and its gray, bulbous eyelids.
For a split-second I would imagine what it would be like to squeeze it tightly in my hands, but then horrified at the thought, I would shake my head.
Chicks are truly amazing to me. How can something so fragile stand any kind of a chance in this world?
*Definition of “jibblies” from Urban Dictionary: A horrible feeling that makes you want to jump around, kick your feet, and shake your hands, attempting to rid yourself of the bad feeling.
I started these paintings as a documentation of my experience with the Wren chicks in my back yard. My husband Eric and I would watch them a few times a day. I loved seeing their parents coming and going from the nest with worms and other equally delicious (or not) insects. One morning when we woke up, they were gone. Nest and all! Not wanting to admit to ourselves that there was probably a neighborhood cat licking his chops, Eric and I each formed our own theories. I said “bird rapture.” He said the parents carried each chick to a designated secret location, then went back and picked up the nest. Admittedly, we were probably more annoying to those birds than a crowd of paparazzi to a celebrity. Whatever happened, it is my sad duty to inform you that my paintings are no longer a documentation of the miracle of nature, but a sad eulogy for four unfortunate chicks.
I woke up this morning and suddenly remembered that I have quite a bit of work to do to prepare for my October show. So I ditched my house work (any excuse, right?) and formulated a game plan. I already knew that I wanted to paint the wren chicks in my back yard, and I have tons of photos of them.
I dug around in my studio and found two pre-cut 9″ x 12″ panels. Using a 50-50 mixture of Elmer’s Glue-All and Wallpaper paste, I adhered matching fabric to both of the panels.
- First, I used a brush and applied a medium coat of the glue mixture onto the panel.
- I laid the fabric on top and used a small straight edge to smooth the fabric to the panel. The glue should bleed through the fabric. I flipped the panel over and applied glue to the edges and folded the fabric around the panel as neatly as I could gluing it as I went. Then I stapled the four corners with a staple gun.
- When that was dry, I applied a coat of clear Acrylic Medium.
And when that was dry I sketched my two favorite photos on top of the fabric with white chalk. Normally, to save time, I use a grid or a projector to transfer the image. I decided that in this case it would be just as efficient to sketch the image free hand. I like to use white chalk because it stands out against patterned fabrics, and can easily be removed with a damp cloth. Then I painted the first layer in Acrylic paint.
This has been THE Spring for beauty and inspiration. In preparation for a show in October, I am planning on creating a bunch of smaller paintings that relate back to the many awe-inspiring moments I’ve had this Spring. Whether it is the fawn that my husband discovered (don’t worry, we returned it), or the bird’s nest in my back yard.