Sunday, June 8, 2008

Is It a Case of Either, Or?

#125 -- Draw a bird

I always thought once I stopped working, I would easily and automatically return to the easel. But then, I helped build our retirement home in the country. Afterwards I was compelled to grow things and raise some critters. I evolved into what my relatives back in the Cornbelt scathingly refer to as a "pretend farmer." I drove a little Mazda "pretend" pick-up truck to the feed store to buy supplies for my "pretend" livestock (dwarf rabbits, call ducks, and fancy booted bantam chickens, all of which were given their own names, and subsequently never treated as actual agricultural product!) A decade passed in a gentlewoman farmer's dream, with seemingly no time for art, when I stumbled upon a quotation that really got under my skin.

This is attributed to Anna M. (Grandma) Moses - "If I didn't start painting, I would have raised chickens." Around this same time, I'd been trying to analyze what kept me from picking up the brush and under my list of "energy drains" had suddenly popped up my beloved poultry collection. Could this quote work in reverse as well? It didn't happen overnight, but slowly I divested myself of the flock right down to the last, this little black and white Frizzle rooster. He was just so skittish and shy I could never catch him to be sold down the river. In the years he spent as our only chicken I always felt bad because lack of female companionship had reduced him to the sad and hopeless habit of courting wild lady doves.

This January a road crew was working near our house, and the noise scared little Cochise so badly he ran away from home. Over on the next block, he found just what he had been longing for - hot chicken women!! - and it didn't take him long to decide on a permanent change of address. I do miss him, but about that same time I began a slow but sure return to the studio. Coincidence? I'm really not sure.

11 comments:

caschw said...

Cochise is wonderful, very endearing - its best he has his hen friends now, when it means you do work like this.

Lynn said...

This is a wonderful drawing, and a wonderful story, too! I'm glad Cochise is able to fulfill his destiny as a rooster "stud muffin".

lyn said...

Very nice drawings here... jeans cake. I like to know what size and medium? Rooster is very cool. Thanks for the catus comment. Glad you got back to artwork. Continued success.

Christie said...

Thanks, Lyn -- I've been working very small for blog drawings, never more than 8 1/2 x 11 and often 4 x 5 inches or so. I use rapidiograph pens, usually, and if color shows up it's acrylic paint, but the rooster was pastel sticks and colored pencil.

jeanette mistress of longears said...

I came to your blog through EDM posts and what a delight I found! Only one entry in and I'm totally charmed by your art and your storytelling! I'm nearing retirement myself, and have so many dreams of all the things I'll be able to do....can't wait to see what the reality will be.

Cory said...

OMG...I love this rooster. I just had my hair cut and I look just like him...no kidding.

Cory

Cheryl said...

What a great reflection, Christie. My dad, now 71, tells folks all the time, "If you're not building bird houses now, don't be thinking you'll be building them once you no longer have to go to work.....get doing it NOW. Cultivate your habits BEFORE retirement sets in....or you'll never do it" I have taken his advice to heart, trying to fit in more moments now for art before I manage to fill them with other things.....not chicken raising mind you. But that's a fascinating thought - my neighbors have those beautiful roosters as well. Your story is a nice reminder of my Dad's advice. I love that there's a happy ending for everyone - Cochise and your art and you and this lovely rendering of him. Very nice pastel work. We share many common interests.....I am actually building a labyrinth in my yard! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

SCquiltaddict said...

Wow i love chicken drawings and i think this is now my favorite...LOVE him..and what a great story...i hope he enjoys the rest of his life..how long does a chicken live anyway?!

E-J said...

This is terrific - great texture and playfulness. What support do you use for your pastels?

Hillary said...

I have been putting off keeping chickens until we retire, now I heed your warning. I will stop planning the chicken coop and draw more. Well told story. Thought the Jeans were great, good story there too.

pedalpower said...

Beautiful drawing! I'm not a morning person, and yet I found the chickens running around the island (and waking me up) charming. Thank goodness your rooster found himself some hot chicks to hang with!
Joyce