I spent the day scanning and editing all the little birds. Time consuming, boring, but necessary work. The birds are now boxed up, ready to leave my nest and be divided by Lauren and Andrew for the Trenton CSA exchange being held next week. As a result, I didn't paint... yet... I'm not sure I'll get a painting in today but it feels good to know I have documented and packaged all the work that I have to let leave the nest.
I went to work today.
I didn't cry today.
I saw some light today - not a glowing, shadowless light, but some light creeping in to remind me that I have no reason to be afraid...
I feel sadness for people who allow fear to rule their lives, who allow fear to hold them back from happiness. I'm not afraid. I'll live a meaningful life with family and friends who I will never ignore.
I feel sadness for the shadow that won't let all the light in.
I'd like to stop painting this bird... I don't know if I can though, it won't leave me alone. I wish someone would come along and shatter the thing so I could stop. Everything else is shattered, this should be too. Unfortunately, the tiny piece of rational thought left inside my head thinks this bird might be worth something and my mom would be hurt if I broke it (especially if I did so on purpose).
I've been painting to fulfill a quota for the CSA but also to try to fill an empty space that's inside my heart. I've met the quota but still feel empty. Every memory is fluttering through my head and my heart physically aches. I just keep painting these pointless little birds. When I look at them I feel like they are parts of my soul that have left me forever. They hurt. I hurt.
When I began this series I had no intention of keeping any of the little birds. The idea of becoming emotionally attached to a still life painting was not on my radar. The longer I live with these paintings, the stronger my bond to them grows. I keep pulling more and declaring them "mine"... Clearly, I have a "whole brush full" of these guys and can reproduce them at will, but the urge to hold on to some is still too much to resist. I'm now keeping 9, tossing 2, and unhappily allowing 27 to fly away from my nest.
After meeting with Lauren and Andrew last week, the guys behind the Trenton CSA, I took a little break from my frenzied painting therapy. I guess it was more of a big break, as I went to San Diego for four days and gave my brain, my heart (and my lungs) some time to heal. The sun and the companionship of my dear friend, Meranda, did me good, but as with everything in life, the shadows always creep back in. I'm back home now, back to work both in my studio and at school. The shadow hasn't left, and as this naturally lit composition proved to me, it's hard to pin down where exactly it's coming from.
This bird has always been around. It belonged to my grandmother and it has been in my mother's possession for years. I never really thought much on what kind of bird he is. I've just thought of him as "little bird" for all this time.
I did a little google search for Lenox birds and came across several ebay postings for "Lenox Sparrow Figurines". Turns out, Lenox created a few different poses of the sparrow that sold in different time periods. They came in a few different colors - including pale green and pale pink. I'm thankful my grandmother had the more common white version.
I also asked google about the meaning of the sparrow. This is what I came up with from a site dedicated to "Animal Spirit Totems":
Sparrow aids in opening the eyes to our self-worth and instills dignity and empowerment. He teaches the importance of voice and communication and the timing of exertion and retreat. It is time to sing your song in all that you do. Sparrow teaches cooperation and sharing responsibilities whether at home or work. Are you helping or should you be helping or working more in some area of your life? Sparrow aids in survival instincts by sharpening intuition to make proper choices. He will bring to awareness any old tendencies so that you can realize the newer more conducive means of being. Sparrow teaches assertion so that you may survive in spite of any circumstances with a balance of joy and empowerment. Are you ready to be like Sparrow?
I've painted this little bird, this sparrow, 34 times. I plan to keep painting him until I'm ready to be like Sparrow.
I'm reading tonight. This line from the book "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio is quite perfect.
"...(she) reminds me of a bird sometimes, how her feathers get all ruffled when she's mad. and when she's fragile like this, she's a little lost bird looking for her nest. so I give her my wing to hide under." (p. 203)
Little birds... They are so beautiful and playful as they dart around. They are strong and graceful on the wind. They are fragile and delicate, they break so easily...
During my undergraduate studies, I spent a great deal of time in the painting studio working with traditional oils. Teaching middle school art for the past 12 years has taken me away from those roots. This "one a day" project is aimed at re-inspiring that creativity and technique.
Other "one a day" painting blogs to check out:
Kellie Marian Hill
The usual Subjects