A change of tack;

I decided to paint the NZ yellow breasted tomtit, which I had drawn in a controlled, coloured pencil style a few years ago; a demonstration piece for my students.

It’s an endearing little bird and I do get a heart response. Having my heart in it eases the process. The photo is from Paul Gibson’s beautiful book, (I have a copy on my shelf), “BIRDS, New Zealand.”

Because my intention was to draw highly realistically and render his photo feather for feather, I emailed to ask his permission. He graciously gave me and subsequently my students, permission to draw any of the birds from his book. Thanks Paul Gibson!!

I’ll be able to paint a tomtit, I’ve already drawn it, so I’m familiar with its nooks and crannies; all the shapes that make a tomtit a tomtit. I didn’t bargain on its feathers. Ten tomtits later and I still can’t paint feathers!! I can’t…I can’t paint feathers!! I’m an artist, I teach art and have been doing both for years and years and I can’t paint feathers after ten tomtits!!

It occurred to me that it may not be appropriate for a professional artist/teacher to admit to not being able to paint feathers. Here’s the point; professional artists do go through challenges when painting new subject matter. They do experience doubt, they do come up against their negative emotions.

What makes someone successful in their field is not that they don’t experience adversity, it’s that they don’t give up because of it. They move on through the angst and learn from it. Not being able to paint tomtit feathers is part of the learning process. I know this, I’ve been here before and yet I still experience the angst when it happens because I have a double hemisphered brain. Do I believe the angsty tomtit story? Well…

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