Monday, November 24, 2014

Painting is a Wonderful Adventure

I don’t recall how I learned about the Traveling Chicken a few years back, but it sounded like fun and I invited her for a visit.   TC finally arrived and I told friends a little about the challenge and how I was excited it was my turn to paint her.  To a person, they got quizzical expressions and asked if I had to wash the paint off before I mailed it to the next person!    

Art has taken me to some amazing places, providing me new adventures and affording me with wonderful unique opportunities to meet fellow artists, although I have to say this is probably one of the most unusual!  

My adventure with TC started with an email telling me it was my turn to paint her.  Then another email for the hand-off.  Usually, TC is just back from some grand adventure in other part of the country or world.  This time is was a short hop and a personal hand-off.   We agreed to meet nearby for lunch, found we had many things in common, and had a long enjoyable lunch with TC taking it all in.   I have high hopes it’s going to be a new lasting friendship and Johnna & I can honestly say it was started with an introduction from a Chicken!  

"Show Off"

I was a bit disappointed TC's companion rooster was taking a vacation
so I found this one dressed in his Christmas finery. 

While I’m sure TC would have enjoyed a trip to Washington, D.C., I thought I would go a little outside the Beltway and take her to The Loft Gallery in Occoquan, VA.  I had a great time showing her off to the artists.  We are currently having a miniature show so TC fit right in as she checked out my frog!   

Monday, November 17, 2014

Undercover in Vienna Virginia

Living in Virginia, just outside of Washington DC is delightful, but has its challenges - plusses:  culture, diversity, world-class museums, theater, restaurants, shopping. . . and minuses(?): politicians, election shenanigans, scandals, and spies.  Seriously, a very notorious spy actually lived a mile and a half from my house (who knew)!  He filled "dead drops" with classified documents in local parks for the Russians.   Hold on to your hats for the rest of the story!

Ms. Chick arrived around Halloween and the mid-term elections.  She is quite demure yet absolutely adorable!   Not sure if she would like the goblins or the darker-side of living here. On top of that, autumn just didn't happen - a day or two of nice yellow and red leaves then huge winds came through and blew most of them off the trees - turned the whole place into a lovely shade of beige!  Now what to do?

This is a great place to live with the mountains and vineyards to the West, beach to the South, and Chesapeake Bay to the East.  Personally, I love living here because you have all the nature AND the "big city" nearby.  So, after a bit of chick-to-chick discussion, we decided to go west to Virginia wine country (didn't take long to find out that chardonnay is her favorite) - also picked up a dinky pumpkin she HAD TO HAVE. Maybe that was the wine talking?!  Artists be forewarned, she is quite a handful despite her demure demeanor!  When we finally got home, she insisted on setting up the composition since she could tell right away, it is not my strong suit.  So, here she is taking over the spotlight in a rather monochromatic wine, pumpkin and Chick-a-tude painting - I guess she really loves all-things-yellow. She rather liked her shadow on the pumpkin . . . not sure what that was about though.  She seems to have a lot of secrets too.

Ms. Chick with Piedmont Chardonnay

One final tale and to round out the story - I can only imagine this had to be the first in-person, somewhat clandestine, drop-off to the next Traveling Chicken artist.  Yes, it did happen right here in Northern Virginia just a few miles outside of DC.  Getting into a covert mindset, there were emails, logistics, time coordinates, phone calls, a surprising shared contact from Colorado, and finally a drop-site at a nondescript shopping center.  Truth be told, I discovered the next artist was truly a retired FBI spy-catcher who was even involved in the case that captured the super-spy in my neighborhood!  Egads.  I know Ms. Chick will love hanging out with her as much as i did!

Thanks for the visit!

p.s. we sent out an APB for Mr. Gallo -- not sure where he is. . . . 

You can read more about my art here:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

TC Back in the States!

Well, Miss TC returned from her journey 'across the pond' as it were, landing here in Maine. She was snug as a bug upon arrival, but quickly made it clear she was in a hurry to 'venture on.'  When pressed, she admitted to me that Maine in November was not especially to her liking.  "Why ever not?" I asked, nonplussed. "Well (pause), it's personal....."  "PERSONAL!!", I erupted.  "I've waited a long time to see you, to show you around, to pose you and paint you!"  At this, she held feathers to beak, drawing me close, and quietly whispered that it was her 'time of the year.'  "Oh....molting....I (ahem) I understand."  (Two of our own 'girls' currently look like they've been in a roundhouse brawl. Molting in Maine, late November....brrrrr....)  "Well, we'd better get busy."

So we scoured the vicinity for some attractive still-life props and and set up a scene.  TC thought we should have more 'bling' than a bottle and a marble, but I quickly said, "Look, I don't think you're in a position to complain given the restrictions you've quiet and hold still."

Then off she went, south, to warmer climes.  I can't say I blame her, but she missed some gorgeous foliage, an example of which I include in this post.  Hopefully she can hang on to her plumage for her next host!

It was fun while it hard feelings TC!  Happy travels!

Shelley Breton