Earlier this spring our family was blessed with the nesting of cardinals in our jasmine. We enjoyed watching the activity of the cardinal pair taking turns feeding the young, feeding each other, and guarding the nest. The cardinals abandoned the nest when their young took flight and I quickly stole the opportunity to photograph the nest. I immediately began to dream about using the photograph as inspiration for a painting. I began to think about how much energy it takes to build something - how many elements it took to put a nest in place. After all, someone had to plant the jasmine and nurture them; someone had to build a nest; someone had to feed; someone had to incubate eggs; someone had to watch for predators. Observing the architecture of the nest, I began to see the many small pieces of debris that constituted the delicately built nest. How could something so delicate sustain life? The nest was a mystery. I decided to further photograph the nest looking for answers to such questions.
Last night, in an effort to take advantage of an empty house and avoid cleaning a messy play room and kitchen, I sat down at the table, blank canvas in front of me, photograph in hand, and started laying down the first layer of paint. I decided that since the nest was well hidden in the jasmine that the entire background would be various shades of green.
I then laid in a patch of light blue for the eggs, and began to build a burnt umber nest on top of the green and blue.
As I laid in color after color using different sized brushes and strokes, the canvas began to exhibit something that looked like a nest – so many layers and still so many more to go.
As I laid in the last swipes of color for branches and leaves, I stepped back to see what, if anything, was missing. I wasn’t unhappy with the painting but I soon began to realize that I had made a few choices in the background that stole the whole point of the painting – that delicately built nest – the manger for life didn’t captivate the impact I had envisioned.
Reflecting on the process of bringing a dream to life, I began worry about what other people would think about the painting. I glanced back at the newly painted nest. A huge epiphany opened my eyes to the fact that I had not painted this piece for anyone other than myself. I had just realized one of my dreams – I created an original piece of art from one of my very own photographs. I had just figured out how to make it all come to life. I realized that in all things, it’s not always going to be perfect the first time. Each stroke on that canvas was a prayer, a tiny stroke of hope that built up to something so incredibly delicate and so perfectly balanced – the reality of a dream.
I am happy to share with all of you the reality of another dream – the sharing of these thoughts and experiences with you through this blog.
Thank you for your faith, hope, love and encouragement as I develop my voice.