It’s almost impossible for me to believe that it’s been 3 months since I first wrote about my 3 Little Birds Project. Where does the time go?!
How it All Started
It all started with the size and medium that has become my favorite and that I’m most comfortable with. My collection of ink pens and markers is well organized and I’ve also been told it’s also enviable.
During the months leading up to the 3 Little Birds project, I’d grown extremely comfortable using ink on canvases the size of a greeting card to create a variety of drawings inspired by nature.
I was content spending my evenings immersed in this world of comfortable familiarity.
It was without conscious intention that I branched out slightly in subject matter and a sea of swirling dots and teardrops became the leaves on a tiny whimsical tree.
Little did I know, that this small step out of my comfort zone would set the wheels in motion and lead me into an unfamiliar and somewhat intimidating place: a friend of mine reached out and asked me to do a painting for her inspired by this whimsical tree and her anthem, Bob Marley’s song Three Little Birds.
The Facebook conversation went something like this:
S: “Hey. I am inspired! I need something above my fireplace. you can create it!” 🙂
Me: “what are you picturing?”
S: “So my new mantra is three little birds. Bob Marly song. But i need color. Your tree with an inset with 3 little birds in colors would be incredible. Your first commission!”
Me: “omg, my drawings are small.”
S: “You’re going Big!” 30 x 20 at least.”
Me: “holy buckets! that’s big for me, but okee dokee”
S: “Get ready for the big blow up! I’m confident that you got it.”
In some ways it seemed a little crazy to say yes. After all, I had extremely limited experience with painting, had never drawn a bird, and had never drawn anything that big, and it was going to hang over her fireplace for many to see.
I don’t know how to explain it, but although it was scary and intimidating, it was also exciting to think about trying something new, big, and different.
3 Little Birds Come to Life
From the beginning of January to the end of March my dining room table was covered with a bright yellow “Kinder Mess Matt,” aka a plastic table cloth designed to protect nice surfaces from messy craft projects. (designed for children, perfect for me)
After playing with acrylic paint to decorate the cover of an art journal
I bought a canvas and spent a few weeks learning what it felt like to work on a surface other than paper, which brushes worked best, and how to recover from mistakes .
At long last I was ready to tackle the final version. Admittedly, the difference in size between the original and the yet to be completed final version of the tree was more than a bit overwhelming to think about.
The large version didn’t get off to a smooth start. Thank goodness acrylic makes it easy to completely cover one tree with a layer (or two) of paint and allows the artist to keep on going without having to abandon the canvas.
Now for the fun part, lots and lots of color. I started with red,
Mia was my faithful art buddy throughout the entire project, although she may have just been interested in keeping an eye on the birds.
The devil is in the details. Truth to be told, this was my favorite part of the project. I can lose myself for hours in the small but important details.
A little over two months after I posted the ink drawing that inspired it all I finished the painting,
had it packed and shipped to Omaha, NE and it’s now hanging above my friend’s fireplace.
The entire project was fun, rewarding, and challenging. It made me stretch in ways that felt uncomfortable at first but ultimately helped me grow and gain confidence.
It was another lesson reinforcing the importance of being open to possibilities and the value of saying “yes” to trying something new even if it scares us.
Perhaps more importantly it was a reminder that there is potential living within each of us that is far greater than we can possibly imagine.
3 Little Birds, the slide show
I wish I could have set the slide show to the Bob Marley tune, but licensing it was a bit out of my price range, so I opted for something free and “sunny sounding.