Why the Birds?
I have been looking at birds for all of my memorable life. I have been painting them for the last 19 years.
I grew up on a farm in North Yarmouth, Maine. My Mother was a bird watcher and she taught my brothers and I to identify them, the black capped chickadee being one of her personal favorites and now mine. She knew their songs, their favorite diets and drew them to her like Snow White. My Mother was a magical woman.
When I was 7, there were chimney swifts nesting in our barn. I lived outside, barely coming in to eat and sleep. I would spend long afternoons watching the swifts fly and dart about at lightning speeds. There were babies that were learning how to fly. Somehow they discovered that my hands could be a good perch and they landed on me, over and over again. This is where it all started. I have spent the rest of my life now in a long, love affair with these blessed, winged creatures.
In 2000, I was painting on location. At the time I was a landscape artist and painting a coastal view through the trees towards the water’s edge. I noticed a little junco was sitting very still watching me in the branch in front of me. Then as I watched him I swear he began to take poses. There it started. I have been painting birds ever since.
Now, I have gone through a few big life changes in the past two years. Divorce, losing my home, big, trying things. I got through it because of my myriad of loving friends and family but also because of the birds. I have sat and sat and looked and looked for more hours that one could imagine, being able to do little more than just observe the birds and their joyous flights. They don’t seem to worry about where they live or what will happen to them. It’s all taken care of. So I have tried to adopt their posture and as Divine Love, or whatever the sweet glue that holds us all in place has it, I have been just fine. More than fine. Now living a dream life, here at Ipcar Farm, painting my birds.
The birds that I am painting have been kind of a self portraits of the different moods, postures, feelings that I find myself having gone through and still processing. I think it’s impossible for an artist to deny their own personality from the work that they create and art becomes more powerful when that is embraced.
Here’s an example, my son, Brandon, was home for a wonderful month visit at Christmas time. The auction company that took my belongings, accidentally took my treasured box of Christmas decorations. Oh the heartbreak of losing those things. I decided to make this year’s tree on Robinhood Farm to be decorated by things from nature. So we went to ocean and collected sand dollars, driftwood, shells and then some pieces from the forest and I glued the pieces to brown twine. Brandon went on a wood’s walk and returned with a beautiful, little Christmas tree. We decorated and it was so sweet and special to me. When it was time to take the tree outside, I decided to give the birds a treat and hang goodies from it by the bird feeder. A Black Capped Chickadee sought a moment of “ sanctuary” in it’s branches….the tree, the experience, being here at Robinhood Farm in the sweet, spirited-presence of Dahlov Ipcar and the friendship of her family has become my sanctuary.
I hope to encourage fellow artists to look for those things that are right on the end of their noses, however simple, like my birds, to inspire and help you move through your life. Inspiration will find you, right where your simple joys lie.
Thanks for reading….Kat