The Daily Art-New Art – Hope is a thing

Full painting

Close up of the birds, they are really not this bright in tone in the painting, but it does give you a hint of the swirly background that I created with thick gesso before painting.

‘Hope is a thing’
24″ x 36″
Gallery wrapped sides/ready to hang
No frame needed
Here is the quote for this work:
“Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)
This work evolved on it’s own. First, a few months ago, I created the background. I put a ton of gesso on the canvas and then swirled it around all over the place. After it dried I painted (with oils) a fading background in three colors. Indigo blue, Prussian green and ultramarine violet. I brushed the colors into the grooves and as it dried I wiped it down to created a stained effect, so the gesso textures and the white would show through a bit. What I ended up with was something that very much looked like tapestry or cloth when I was done.
I thought I was done, I liked the background and so did Mate Man. I hung it on the studio drying wall and forgot about it for awhile.
About a month later, I was moving it to hang up another wet painting and thought….hey this needs a tree on it. You all know what happens next.
I went into the studio and about an hour or so later I had the tree. I thought I was done.
I hung it back on the drying wall and took a look at it. It wasn’t right but I didn’t know what was wrong yet.
When I get stuck I start reading.
I went to the bookshelf, closed my eyes and picked a book.
It was poetry, it was a favorite of all time, it was Emily Dickinson. I closed my eyes and opened the book. The poem above is what it opened to.
I read the poem, and the birds formed in the tree in front of my eyes.
Grabbing the painting back off the wall, I put it back on the easel and painted for a few more hours.
Then there were birds.
Putting it back up on the wall, I thought I don’t know…maybe the two styles of painting were working against each other, or something.
Basically I didn’t know if I liked it or not.
Next morning, I looked at it again.
The birds sang to me.
I knew it didn’t matter if the styles of painting were different, that’s my style in the first place, and I did like it. It started working for me.
When it dried and moved into the gallery spaces in the studio, a few people who came by commented on it quite a bit…it wasn’t ready for sale, this is oil paint, it has to cure even after it feels dry before it can be finished out.
I named it and moved it into my living spaces.
I have enjoyed drinking my morning coffee and listening to what I imagine those birds would be singing to me. They are painted in a layered glaze style so many colors show through and at different times of the day they seem to move in and out of the shadow of the tree. They even seem to sway a little on their perches, in an indigo breeze.
They will never stop singing the song of hope.
I wish you a day with hope in grace in your corner.
Happy day to you,
the fine print:
‘Hope is a thing’
24″ x 36″
back stapled/finished sides/needs no frame
ready to hang
oils HMBT 12/2007
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  1. BlueJude
    January 4, 2008

    I see some gnarly dark lines in the orange leafy part, but maybe that’s just because I’m in a gnarly mood! {:Looks good anyhoo!

  2. San
    January 5, 2008

    Wow! What a great direction–beautiful color and whimsically surreal. I agree. There’s still a missing piece. I think. But I wouldn’t dare suggest anything when you’ve come this far. Especially since I don’t have a clue. Maybe you’ll dream the puzzle piece?

  3. Cynthia
    January 5, 2008

    Love the birds/doves? in the painting! Congratulations on two paintings finished in 2008 – you’re off and running.This is weird, I just received this blog in my inbox – but see you already have a new one written – there must be a delay.

  4. HMBT
    January 5, 2008

    Thank you all, I just had to spend some time with it to choose that it was done. The background is busy too and I thought if I do anything more I’ll screw it up so…it’s done. I even named it thanks to my friend Vikki. (who I will post a link to later I promise… you guys gotta see her work) 🙂

  5. badkittyartstudio
    February 18, 2008

    These comments were made before the work was finished…now it is! Come on now, lemme hear what you think of it completed. 🙂

  6. sara
    February 18, 2008

    I think it is beautiful. Once again you have done it! I love the poem as well. I’m an Emily Dickinson fan. (not sure I spelled her name right

    I love the tree. It is different than your other trees. The colors are wonderful. And the birds/doves really do make the painting work. I love it!

  7. badkittyartstudio
    February 18, 2008

    Why thank you Sara *blushes*. I need words sometimes to make things work in my head. It’s really a form of magic I think. 🙂

  8. Kris Cahill
    February 20, 2008

    Lovely fun work here, Heather. I like the playfulness and gentle spirit of this piece. I agree, it’s wonderful to KNOW a piece is done, to truly feel it.


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