Peep Show


SR-71 the Blackbird  13 x 18 Acrylic on board
Tonight is the opening of the Peep show, a group show with bird-themed art. I have 4 pieces in the show; all of them were painted this week. That's very rare, normally it takes weeks or months to get a few pieces I like ready, but I didnt have the time or the heart with my Mom's death and another show I had in ATL and some other little jobs. This blackbird is my favorite of the lot - its the most abstracted and has a lovely surface.

When I started making folk art to sell at the farmer's market, I didn't know that it would lead me into painting on wood for my more upscale work. But I have grown to love the quality of wood as a painting ground. That big portrait of Koby was the first "real art" I painted on wood.

As an illustrator, everything I did was to be reproduced which meant painting on paper so art could be fed into a drum scanner. I painted in gouache which is a very flat paint with no reflective properties making the colors very rich. The reflective quality of acrylic paint annoys me. Its hard to see what I am doing especially if I have to use a light. Thats why I always try and paint from 10 am to 4 pm when the natural daylight is best. But acrylic lets me do things gouache cannot, like have many layers and the ability to paint out mistakes. With gouache, you really need to get it right the first time.

Etching into the wood for surface detail
What I love best about the wood is, well its cheap. When you paint on paper, and if you paint large on  paper, then you have the expense of framing. And it is expensive to do it correctly. With wood I get a 1/2 inch thick board and finish the sides and voila, it's ready to hang. They'd look better in frames but I can now leave that to a buyer.  I also like etching into the wood for added surface texture. The imperfections and the grain shows through on the final art giving it a kind of rawness that I think is more interesting than a perfectly smooth finish.  And I like that wood is hard. I never liked painting on canvas because I didnt like the give that happened when I pushed into it with a brush.

With a busy background, a simple bird image worked best
Today I am making a strawberry trifle for the show, and planting my sweet potatoes and getting the little cabin ready for a certain visitor from the PNW. Its cold here this morning. I hope it is warmer next saturday as I plan to have us float down the river  - a trip that is chilly even in July. Happy weekend to all!


  1. These are colourful and brilliant dear chickory, good luck with the show ... Multitude Gallery looks like a fantastic place to exhibit your art.
    Enjoy palnting your sweet potato seeds.
    I planted half a packet of mixed yellow and warm coloured nasturtium seeds about a month ago, all have flowered, every flower is orange, I do like orange but I have yet to be successful with yellow flowers. I planted the other half of the seeds today, fingers crossed that there will be a yellow flower amongst them. :)

    xoxoxo ♡

  2. First, I really love this little black bird and it's been fun to watch this new direction you've gone in. Reading WHY it's important to you makes it even more interesting

    I've been checking weather and Saturday would be a good day for your visitor to float down a river. Your visitor may even buy a disposable water camera.

    Good luck tonight! xoxoxxo

  3. Love the blackbird, and also the story of your work process.
    I texture my canvas with layers of gesso---it ends up more like a plaster finish.
    I recently bought some cradled wood panels, to try and see how they work.
    You know, I think there is a medium you can mix in with your paint to give it a more matte appearance, if that would help.....I'm sure Golden makes one....I may even HAVE some.
    Good luck with the show and congrats on getting them out there!


  4. I adore this piece! Vibrant and stylized. Fascinating to read your thoughts about choices of materials as well. Best of luck with the show (and that trip down the river)!

  5. Thank you for this "peep" behind the curtain of the creative process!

  6. gorgeous !!!
    amazing - love it !!

    maybe working fast, really fast, can be a good thing xoxo S & les Gang

  7. Love your new work. Painting on wood is wonderful, very forgiving and allows for more "stuff" to be done, sanding, etc. Good luck with the shows and have a safe journey on the river. I'm glad to hear you weren't affected by the storms that hit Alabama.

  8. Those new pieces are beautiful! I am particularly fond of blackbirds. They remind me of my deceased dad. He was a simple, ordinary, hard working man with jet black hair and a long nose; and he worked in the woods. Like a blackbird.
    Have a fantastic show...

  9. Gorgeous! I love your bird art the most. Someday I'm going to own all of your chicken art!!

  10. What a gorgeous painting - very vibrant and colourful. I like that you shared your thinking behind it too.

  11. So bright and colorful, I would love to see a whole wall covered with your birds. xox Corrine

  12. I love these and really like hearing your creative process. I bet knocking them out like this is good therapy ... no time to think, just do and get on with it, concentrate but channel the creativity. Yes, good therapy. Wish I was 1/100th as creative! P.S. Loved the hat!

  13. I love this painting! I too enjoy painting with acrylics on wood. I understand your frustrations with painting on canvas: it's springy and the little tiny woven texture of all those squares in the fabric drives me crazy! It is wonderful to be able to repaint one's mistakes with the acrylics, too, as I have appreciated this quality of the paint.
    If you are taking in guests from the PNW, how about the ANE? I would love to paint with you in the warm southern sunshine!

  14. dianne: i did the alaska mix of nasturtiums last year and I had lots of yellows. I wonder if those would thrive in the southern hemisphere.

    the gallery is a nice venue -its a glass gallery. But I like having work there on special shows because theres no contracts. good luck with your spring flowers!

    boxer: ha! the visitor has to have full sunlight coming up on 80 or it will be too cold. but theres other things to do! yay.

    anne huskey: i tried the matte medium. it is flatter but it still has a horrible reflective sheen - only its a dull sheen. I use lots of Jo Sonja an acrylic gouache to paint out areas. so I have flat and reflective paint but at the end i varnish it all in UV protectant and its even.

    eggy: thank you. its a process of adding and taking away based on the first underlayer of marks. I didnt censor myself here - i didnt have time. usually i make whatever i make and then pick out the few that are special and show those.

  15. XL: oh you are so darn cleva! Thank you. you could have just glue gunned some peeps to your sailer cap. har!

    susan: maybe! that would be helpful. but i really like to edit down for a show -not have to put in what i have for better or worse. I need more time. The painting i was telling you about in the email is my next post. its a weird little painting but it turned out to be everyones favorite.

    fishy: peep peep peep. super sugary fun.

    hilary: i had MAJOR wind. lots of trees snapped off in odd high places. but all was okay in the end. and the lightning! it was like Zeus throwing thunderbolts right at me.

    I like the look of sanding down areas of the finished art to give it a distressed look. I do it often to the folk art pieces.

    debora: i love that. I can so picture your daddy! and i like him based on that brief bird summary. what bird would my dad be? maybe a coopers hawk or something like that. thanks about the painting too!

    jenner! thank you. you and peapod should get some real chicks. im sure the pack would love that. grherhahaha

    dan: thank you! I cant wait to try these large scale pieces. big wood is heavy -theres and argument for canvas. the only one, though.

  16. dosfishes: you need to have a look at the house that Walter Anderson painted down in pass christian mississippi: what you just described!

    Pam: thanks a million! all these images are one painting though - i just showed details in the last two. I think you are right about over thinking. i think its more about over censoring actually. more about that later!

    one little deer: i hate those little squares!! and the springyness. but I have some canvas laying around so i guess I gotta go ahead and do something with them

    Yea! we'll have a RR and painting con-fab!

  17. Ooooo, this has a kind of Mid Century Modern vibe to it that's very cool.

    You know, I often find I do my best work when pressed. The more time I have to fuss with something, the higher the potential for overworked.

    So how was the show? Did you sell, sell, sell? I hope, hope, hope so!

  18. i love the textural quality of wood! i have a cousin (she had a show recently in town) who works on wood a lot. she loves it. i also love the fact that the you can choose to frame the wood or not. i like all these, especially the middle one. to me it has a mod quality about it.

    ps: i love trifle ...

  19. moi: i am going to try and more work this way -without overthinking. no i didnt sell sell sell. on opening night its mostly friends and other artists. I did buy a piece though!

    foamy: they are all the same painting. the second and third ones are detail! trifle turned out great: all it was was vanilla wafers, fresh strawberries and heavy whipped cream. you put layers of that in the fridge and it kind of mushes together in a nice way. it was devoured.

  20. both of these
    works are beautiful, c

    if you don't take 'best of show',
    i'll personally fly down there in my sr-71 and strafe the gallery for you -- well, best of luck

    × × ×


  21. Hello. This is my first comment here, not my first visit, I saw your blog some time ago but simply lost it from the radar.
    I read your comment on Savannah's, and that's why I am here and will - if you do not mind - read and comment. And besides of this I like birds.

  22. so it is!! that's what i get for reading blogs when exhausted ..

  23. /t: LOL! you know, i would LOVE that. Meeting you is definitely on my bucket list.

    63Mago: welcome! Im glad you stopped by. are those your legs at MJ's. theres no "63" to that mago. I hope you visit often.

    foamer: *doink*

  24. Thank you for the welcome! It's my left leg - the Mistress and others call me mago and I am quite happy with it.

  25. So bright and colorful, I would love to see a whole wall covered with your birds. xox Corrine


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


© chickory All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger