During the pandemic (and before actually) I spent a lot of time outside with my mom, as that seemed the safest place to be together. She’s an avid birdwatcher and so slowly awakened my awareness to all the birds around me. We’ve had a birdfeeder at our home for years and I thought I was looking at the birds, but it’s amazing what a subtle shift of awareness towards a new subject can do for me.
One day in late June, I was out painting at a favorite spot in the woods along the lakeshore, and saw a Pileated Woodpecker. Not so surprising. But she hung around for a long time….and the idea slipped in my head. Maybe I could add a bird to my landscape study??? So I tried. And honestly that first large canvas attempt from the plein air study ended up a flop. But I tried again. Introducing an element that has an absolute scale is fascinating. It pulls everything into a different absolute reality.
Since then, I’ve been launched into a new series of birds. It’s quite exciting for me!