Having done the warm up exercise, it was time to turn my attention to the first full lesson of Life Book 2016. Again, the lesson was taken by the delightful Tamara Laporte. I must admit that I pared back my approach to the lesson a bit by removing a collaging step from my process and also not constructing a little pocket and integrating it into the painting. I had to be realistic about my time management and be pragmatic.
The idea behind the lesson was to create a figure who would represent a Traveller since we students are at the beginning of this year’s art journey. We were to choose an animal or two to accompany the figure. My mind was flitting about from animal to animal and various possibilities, especially since we have just welcomed a three-legged cat into our home, and I just could not settle on an idea when – out of the corner of my eye and just feet from the kitchen table where I do my art thing – I saw a scarlet feathered male cardinal visit my feeder and nibble on seeds. Ta da! Choosing the cardinal then helped me select my colour palette for the painting and I was off and away. For whatever reason, the idea of a Traveller made me think of a travelling cloak and from there I thought of an Edwardian lady and that then became the scaffolding for my painting of the female figure. She has ended up looking rather stern and serious. I am not sure I would particularly want to be setting off on a journey with her in that mood. Maybe that golden sun will thaw her out a bit and improve her mood.
There are lots of aspects of this painting that make me wish I could find time for a do-over. I know, I know: I give way too much broadcasting time to my Inner Critic. However, when I compare it to the Beacon of Light figure I painted for my first proper Life Book lesson last year I can see that I have come on in leaps and bounds not just in terms of my skill level but also in terms of my confidence in approaching each lesson and in tackling new things. If that is how far I have come in one year, it makes me excited to think how much further I might have progressed by the end of the year.