Surgery tomorrow on my right eye has me feeling a little nervous. (I’m so busy that I really don’t have time for downtime, and copy edits are waiting, too.) And so, on this holiday Monday (Canadian Thanksgiving), I decided to do what I often do when I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.
Surprisingly, no, that isn’t writing (which I actually find hard work) but painting, which relaxes me by requiring me to be completely focussed. In fact, if I could paint full-time, it’s something I’d love to do: it’s just that there’s no money in it, sadly. Maybe in my old age. (My father took up painting in his eighties, and had several exhibitions of his work, so it must be in the genes. My daughter, Jade, is also a phenomenal artist, much better than me.)
Here is the result of this afternoon’s efforts, and what will probably be this year’s Christmas card.
I normally work with a palette knife and a very thick layer of acrylic, using multiple colours at once. (I paint quickly, and usually finish a painting in an hour or two). That approach just wasn’t working for me today.
And so I ran the board (I rarely use canvas) under a tap to clean off the paint so that I could re-use it and as I was washing off the paint with my fingers, I realized I really liked the watery effect.
This soon became an exercise in blending the paint with my fingers until the colours merged the way I wanted them to. Then I scraped off some paint with a finishing nail for a clean edge around the hare, and added some touches of white here and there for effect.
It’s different, but similar to the Christmas card I did two years ago of a deer. You can see how I layered on the paint, which is more usually my style.
I was at a boot camp in BC at the time with delusions of getting fit. It was just after dusk when I saw this little deer on the hill, watching something far off in the trees. I was attracted by the graphic lines of the shadows, the hill and the snow. Since I had my brushes and paints with me, I snapped off a quick photograph and I painted this one that same evening as some of the staff and guests watched. (The deer was obliging enough to hang around for a while, too, which let me get some of the fine details.)
The painting is framed now, so it doesn’t quite look like the Christmas card it became, but I’m sure you’ll get the picture.