Sunday, April 25, 2010

tiny paintings


I made this miniature egg tempera painting (2"x 1 3/4") a couple days ago, after feeling a little disconnected from myself, or rather who I perceive myself to be. Oddly, I still consider myself a painter whenever I'm asked what I do, even though I haven't made a painting in forever. It's something I enjoy immensely, even though its tedious, makes my neck, back and eyes hurt. Not to mention the pigments are extremely toxic to breathe. So I don't do it very often, because when I get to paint, its ALL I want to do and any interruption is vastly annoying. Anyway, I was feeling as though I had no business even thinking i was once a painter. So I ordered some tube egg tempera from The Art Supply Warehouse (solves the pigment dust issue) so I wouldn't have to mix my own paint from powdered pigments and egg yolks. I have to say, I'm enjoying it! I started with tiny oak panels I prepped by applying layers of gesso and sanding between coats, so the surface is satiny smooth, a process I like because I feel like I'm inacting a process that is unchanged since Botticelli. It felt satisfying, building the surface with hundreds of brushstrokes, attaining colors the same way one embroiders.

I finished this little baby bird who looks like Max, this evening, just as the sun set. The untidy nest is woven through with threads and bits of paper, to make it cozy. You might be wondering why I'm so obsessed with the whole bird/human hybrid creature. The short answer is that I've always thought it looked cute, ever since I first saw images from King Tut's tomb when I was a kid. The facination continued when I discovered that almost every culture has some version of this creature: the Egyptians called it Ba, the symbol of the soul flying to the afterlife, the Native Americans used the symbol as a Bringer of Storms, the Greeks called them Harpies or Sirens. The symbol has an interesting history that appeals to me.... I'm always drawing or sculpting it. So, I now feel like i deserve to call myself a painter. Time to be a sculptor and start bustin' it for Bead and Button!

10 comments:

marmee said...

These are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

Alice said...

Beautiful paintings! I enjoyed reading bits of the process as you prepare the surface, and a bit of the history of these human/birds as well.

It's so sweet that the baby bird looks like Max.

Rosanne said...

Such a talented person you are. I love the paintings. I've been reading a series of books by P.C. Cast. It's a story of goddesses and all the magical creatures at that time. Centaurs and half bird/people. (I don't think they are as sweet as your pictures.)

Sheila said...

These look great, Cynthia! I am enjoying the subdued colors. I'm glad you are getting a chance to paint again and I think Azalea and Greg would look good as harpies, too! (Also, Andrew, Me, Steve, and Mom.) :)

Kristen (Creative Stash) said...

sweet paintings. thanks so much for sharing and loved the history on the human birds. you are a very thoughtful artist.

Janet said...

That sure is maxx thatyouve painted! lovely! When I paint my back and neck hurt and it is tiring. Its so time consuming...but so worth the end results! Be happy little Bird you have so much talent! Brimming over! <3

Frivolitea said...

Fabulous little paintings!

hint said...

I just love these tiny paintings! And Ba is one of my favorite Egyptian creatures. I love your connection to them because the feel so approachable and gentle. Just beautiful :)

Pretty Things said...

I love those sweet birds!

Jean said...

Oh! These are so beautiful!
love, jean

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