Sunday, 3 July 2011

Fowl play

I really struggled to get under the feathers of my subject for this painting. I guess if I'd taken more resource photos of the chicken it would probably have made life easier; instead I found myself scratching around for pictures on the internet to rescue the situation. However, with some perseverance, and alteration of the position of the legs with the aid of another photo (of a completely different chicken), I think I've got there in the end.

Why did I choose to paint a chicken? Well, I'd just noticed of late that chickens kept cropping up in conversations, magazines and on the telly. People around me seem to be either keeping chickens, considering keeping them, or knew someone who already did. Perhaps it's all part of the trend towards self-sufficiency – the good life. Even the coups – sorry, 'chicken houses' – are pretty fashionable these days too, for example, check out the rather ergonomic-looking Eglu 

Anyway, I've plucked up courage to show you how this painting was resolved. That's it, no more puns, I promise.

photo of chicken - no feet

Sketch of chicken

Chicken one

chicken two

chicken three - new legs!

chicken - final (30cm x 25.5cm)

I said I'd keep you updated on how I am doing with donating my sabbatical paintings to local hospitals – the objective being to get them into a hospital for the benefit of patients and staff. Well, rather frustratingly, my first attempt at altruism in my life seems to be making little headway at present. My emails to the relevant person at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have gone unanswered and so have the phone calls.

Not to be defeated I thought I'd contact a charity called Paintings in Hospitals (PiH), which has 50 years' experience of loaning pictures to hospitals, to see if they could help me. It seemed like a good idea: after all, as it states on the website, its mission is 'to relieve sickness, anxiety and stress through the provision of art in hospitals, hospices and other healthcare facilities, across the UK, for the benefit of patients, their visitors and staff. The only national organisation of its type, it currently provides visual arts services to more than 230 healthcare facilities.' The list of facilities even included the very ones that I am interested in donating to. But, no, I was wrong. PiH responded to my email saying that 'Unfortunately, we don't provide advice or information on these matters.' How baffling. Before doing the sabbatical I thought the hard part would be painting the pictures, not giving them away!

Anyway, not to be defeated, I have another avenue to explore and I will let you know how I get on with that next time.

In the meantime, my first exhibition is fast approaching (23rd July to 13th August) at Elizabeth House in Cookham. In case no-one wants to buy any of the original paintings, I'm getting some postcards and greeting cards printed. I must confess that I am starting to get a bit nervous about it now, especially as the previous exhibitors, whose work appears the gallery's website, are nearly all professional artists or photographers. I'll let you know how it goes in the next blog.