The Process: Day 4


If anecdotal science is accepted here, then I say that bee venom is indeed an effective anti-inflammatory and pain killer because I felt great today. No headaches, neck pain or even pain at the site of the stings although that area was itchy. Next time I have severe neck pain, I plan to go harass some bees. I called the fella that built my studio and asked him if he wanted to come over and fix the well, he did, but I had to kill the bees first as he is allergic to them. I went out there with a can of wasp and hornet spray and couldnt pull the trigger. So I got a shovel, picked up the hive and moved them to a hole in a tree about 200 feet away. It worked; there were only a few hanging around this morning when Mike arrived.

Most of my day was spent here. But I think it was a good thing because when I finally got to my painting I saw it with fresh eyes and didnt like some things. I didnt like the peacock's neck. In the first photo of this post look at the neck under the beak. Its a little too thick and I think it makes him look goofy. Now I have tucked that in a bit and he looks more elegant -as he should. You can also see I am beginning to correct that bad hair on the right -it will take layers and layers to overcome that van dyke brown. I should not have used that until I was sure it was correct. You see how rough this painting is when you look at it up close. The last two days are all about refinement, refinement, refinement.

I painted out all the areas of white so there wasn't anymore distraction from its brightness. Some of what is painted is just place holding; a general color that helps me move forward. I work on lots of areas in a day because if I work too much on one thing it can throw off the balance. I like how stylized the God cloud is, and its an indication of what is to come in the water...this painting will become more fantastical each day and then at the very end I will rough it up with strikes of bold hot color on the surface. Highlights are another way to think of that. One thing that was killing me is how the tail of the peacock went in too similar a line with Flannery's dress so I changed it to flow back into the water more and it looks much better. Im not thrilled with the God eye - thats a placeholder. I thought it might be black with fire inside..but it reminded me of how Sauron was portrayed in the Fellowship of the Ring.

Here is the full painting with *some* of the offending areas labeled. 

Today's studio animal is Easter. I caught this photo of her flying up on the painting. 

Here I have fixed the peacock tail. Once I get the water painted and the feathers finished this will make sense. I also covered over Flannery's legs and I think that is fine. I just laid in the underpainting for the dress roughly. Tomorrow I am going to cram school and get in a full rock-breaking day. I will finish the water and the peacock and will definitely have something major to show tomorrow (if something don't break before before then.)

And now, its time to chill with some heirloom Green Zebra tomatoes and Project Runway. See you tomorrow, and I promise that will be a better post. Thanks for joining me on this process!


  1. I am loving this series, and loving this painting. And I think you're a complete dearheart for moving the hive to a tree.

  2. I think the sweep of the peacock tail looks better with that extra width.

    What will they be doing to the well?

  3. Thank for not pulling the trigger. Sorry about the sting. We cool, right?

  4. I. Love. You.

    You. Are. Brilliantly. Talented.

  5. EASTER!! Love that bird, but even I don't think flying onto a wet painting is good.

    I think you've made amazing progress over the past few days despite everything else that's happened.

    did you coat the wood before you started painting? Did you talk about that? Did I miss that?

    (and I'm so happy you didn't blast the bees. I was rooting for them.)

  6. oh oh oh! IT's really getting thar'--how amazin' to see it develop. I know Flannery is smilin'. The peacock tail is much better-neck too. Whole process is intriguing.

    Thanky to the cool bees fer the pain relief. But--idea: call pharmacy about gettin' bee venom to keep on hand fer less painful treatment.

    Watched PR-- lemme say right now, as far as I'se concerned it is OVER--BERT (Burt?) RULES!! TOTALLY RULES. Game Over. That dress he made from his boxer shorts? have ya ever seen more design--pure design--from such a paucity of resources. Mercy, he is talented.

    An' wonder of wonders, the judges knew it too. THAT is really amazin'.

  7. laura: thanks for joining in and thank you for commenting. I think the discussion we are all having helps me very much. I checked on the bees..the hive is in the state where new bees are incubating in their little bulbous slots. They seem to be okay - i hope they are covered enough.

    lx: it does..and the hairy feathers will fan out and help too. on the well, I had some corroded pipes that needed replacing but the hard part is lifting and securing the wellhead. also, getting the rusty parts off. then there is the danger of dropping the thing that lets you pull the well up...if you do, you gotta call in the pros to dig down deep and retrieve it. We got it though and i have water again. yay!

    bees: yeah. we cool, and you know, thanks. next time just leave the venom in a little honey pellet i can swallow, kay?

    faery: oh stop. but thank you. Im trying on this often i just paint without thinking too much. those are decorative paintings - this is a content painting and so its harder. love you too, and congrats again on your awesome anniversary.

    boxer: you know Im not gonna hurt hard working pollinators! and i found a smallish garter snake in the well house today too. We didnt bother him either. I gessoed the wood before i started painting. two light coats.

    aunty: a lot of things are going to be much better by tomorrow nights post. you know, it seemed kind of fittin' and flannery like that i should be healed by virtue of bee sting. do you know how i mean that?
    I love God's sense of humor.

    on PR> i loved that dress! the colors were smart and that cinched waist with he tie - it was really good. Im rooting for that guy because ageism is a real deal and especially on Bravo.

  8. This has been most interesting. I love seeing how your work .. your process. i've been in sin city the past couple of days so checking bloggies has been a bit sporatic. can't wait to see more. i love the expression on her face.

  9. I have just arrived home and could not wait to see your progress for day 4, so dinner can wait.
    Love the photo of Easter your helper for today, she may have been attracted to that beautiful peacock.
    I see you have labelled some areas that you are not happy with, I hope all goes well for tomorrow. I am feeling that this project is not an easy task and it gives us some perspective into the amount of work and talent you put into your art.
    Pleased to hear your neck pain has gone and I'm sure the bees will be happy in their new location, thanks to your kindness.
    See you tomorrow sweet girl.
    xoxoxo ♡

  10. Sweet one, I love you !! and I love that (of course) you couldn't pull the trigger. I am LOVING this week of posts- it's absolutely fascinating and Flannery & her peacock are looking stunning. Thank you again for doing this xoxox Dee D, S & les Gang

  11. There is a beautiful sense of justice in your sparing of the bees and their curing of you. Sounds Divine to me.

    Often, there is great value in walking away from a project to return with "fresh eyes". It always amazes me when I come back to a drawing to see what I failed to see before.

    I love your color balance already. When you do the final detailing it will be breath taking. You handsome peacock is looking more elegant. Your depiction of the social relationship between Flannery and her bird is amazing. I cannot help but wonder if this could be intrinsic to this painting if you did not have a similar relationship with your chicks.

    On your comments about "fixing the hair" on the right ... in your photograph, if I block the view of everything but Flannery's head, it looks correct. Could the spacial relationship bothering you be about the right shoulder drop? If you do the old art school thing about drawing the axis line from shoulder to shoulder it might be informative? Once you hang this on the wall it will look entirely different just from the change in light reflection.

    So happy to read your well problem was fixed in a day although, the nekkid stream bathing seemed to be therapeutic.

    Godspeed little painter, Godspeed.

  12. Thank you for not killing the bees. I found a rattler on the road yesterday that someone had deliberately run over several times to squish it dead. I was so upset at the thoughtless cruelty of it that I had a hard time running home.

  13. Foam: tonight i will check on everybodys blogs as a treat to myself! Im hoping to find on your page some sin city photos. thanks for checkin on me!

    diane: i sure hope the bees are covered enough. Its in a hole in a dead tree. they are inside it but if it rains really hard i dont know....SO glad you are excited about what you will find each evening. tonight i hope to have a lot to show. xo

    susan: i did it in large part for you. although this isnt the same as how illustration is approached -and certainly nothing like making a gouache painting, i hope it illustrates what i think while i work and some technical notes as well. thanks for your kind words and know that i treasure them. xo to all the creatures of 29.

    dani: thank you darlin'!

    Fishy: well, I saved the bees after they stung me. I literally stuck my hand right in the hive area pulling away insulation from around the well. You should have seen me do the "freak out dance" grherhahahaha

    You might be right on with that observation of the dropped shoulder. thats the problem I will spend some quality time with the ruler this morning. On the bird, there needs to be some kind of shadowing once he is finished to give him a bit of weight. but the big problem for today is the matter of the crutches. thanks for your thought full comments. You are a treasure!

    moi; same thing here. ALl snakes on the road are "runt" over. sickening. I am going to kill that black widow that is living somewhere near my blueberries. SHe has had a very negative effect on my garden experience. Have a great day moi! - youre still writing the assignment, yes?

  14. Chick - I am with you on the bees. I would have tried to move them, too. The painting is amazing, and i love getting a peek inside your cranium while you are working. Hope you gets lots done today! xox Pam

  15. Good afternoon Chickory,

    In an artist's eye is an amazing talent. In fixing what you didn't like you have made the painting much better. Yet you had to point them out for me to see them.

    Good for you on the bee's! all of the colony's are so stressed that losing any is bad. Since getting into beekeeping I'm beginning to wonder if wild hives will be the salvation of the rest of the bee population. Anyone who runs over a snake or a turtle either get it on purpose and is an asshole or shouldn't be driving.

    The pain issues are from broken vertebrae in my neck and low back caused by a fall a couple of years ago.

  16. Bees are dying here for still unknown reasons. Good to see that you did not kill them. They are pretty magical creatures.


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