Of months and birds

Nine months ago I started a painting project – admittedly a rather ambitious one. Nine months ago I also started a new life.

I knew that this change would come with the normal stress and upheaval that can naturally only be expected from such a decision. I gave up hospitality for good, leaving the guest house and what had been my small home town my entire life, moving with my pre teen son and four cats, to be with the man I love and I am soon to be married to.

I knew that adjusting and finding our feet would be the focus for all of us for those first few months. It would understandably take a great deal of emotional energy.

Nonetheless I did not want my creative journey to stand still completely while this was happening. So instead of giving myself some time off, I decided to start a project. A birding calendar! What could be so difficult, its just one bird a month. Mmmmm.

It takes time to get the richness of colour and detail when painting birds, adding botanicals to the mix adds even more time! How much time? About 10 or more hours per painting of time..give or take. One might argue that I needed a trip to my therapist instead. Paradoxically however, my very lengthy project turned out to be just what the doctor ordered, that combined with a daily run and throwing myself into our new garden.

So my daily painting sabbatical began. Two to three hours at least 4 to 5 days a week. This scheduled session became one of my safe places into which I could escape. Focusing my attention on painting became a kind of meditation. I could zone out and get caught up in the brush strokes. Composition, colour, plant choices etc. became the new problems to solve.

Following through with my intention to create twelve beautiful paintings could only be accomplished by breaking it down into these daily sessions. I had to make my home in my work, clock in daily and tick it off in my diary once done. Then start the whole process all over again the next day. While some of the paintings took only ten hours others took longer. I would give myself two to three weeks per painting.

And now after nine months I am done. The paintings have been scanned and are ready for printing into calendars. I have recieved the first test print and I can’t help flipping through it ever so often through the day.

I took all twelve paintings out of the drawer this morning and laid them out on the dining room table. They are beautiful. A testament for me of what is possible. A bird for every month and every month a milestone. And here we are, many many months later.

7 thoughts on “Of months and birds

  1. Yay! You are back! You are happy! You have been wonderfully creative! Please let me know how and when I can order your calendar. This post has uplifted my spirits on this very cold and grey day.

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    1. Thank you Anne. Yes I am back! I’ve been busy starting a new life and making a new home in a new town. Things have settled nicely and I have been creative. I have been desperately wanting to write but haven’t had the time. It should be easier now that I have finished my calendar project. I will happily keep a calender for you. If you like, Paige my daughter can take it to Grahamstown later this year, or I could have it couriered. They are R240 ๐Ÿ˜If you want one
      you can do an eft to
      CA Cox
      FNB cheque account
      62028557075
      If you need it couriered its an extra R100. Just use your name as reference and send me your address. Thanks for your order!
      I look forward to reading your blog posts again! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    1. Hello Eliza! Thank you so much. I share to our SA birding Facebook groups and also use my Facebook art page which is growing. There has been a good response so far and lots of orders. So nice to get your message Eliza. I hope to have more time to blog too๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Carol. I’ve been busy settling in to my new home and town so haven’t written much up til recently. The calendar was such a joy to do. I’d like to continue the project each year with different themes..

      Liked by 1 person

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