The rooster in this portrait, Jupiter, is the master of over 30 hens in his little slice of paradise at a friends little farm on Vashon Island. My friend Michael has so many beautiful chickens, but this guy demands respect and admiration in a way that only an alpha rooster can. I work from photos and he was happy to oblige. He stayed right in front of the camera, though he never stopped moving.
My work is influenced by paintings made during the Dutch Golden age. Behind Jupiter, I have a background that is inspired by one of Rembrandt’s self-portraits. My intention in giving the painting of Jupiter a formal composition and background is not to anthropomorphize him, but to give him dignity of his own and to signify that this is his portrait, not just a portrait of a rooster.
Jupter, oil on aluminum, 15″ x 15″. Go to my available works page to purchase Jupiter and to view more works in this series.
A few months ago I reached out to my Instagram and Facebook community to help me choose which chicken painting to enter in the annual Portrait Society of America’s member’s only competition. I was having trouble picking and thought there would be a clear favorite. After almost a hundred votes though, it was almost exactly a tie! Even so, it still helped me choose. People were very passionate on either side, but people typically liked the hen because the painting was more unique. For right or wrong, I liked that rational and went with it. I’m happy to share that she was a finalist in the animals category. Perhaps the rooster would have done even better in the competition, but you never know!
Both of these paintings have backgrounds that reference Rembrandt self-portrait’s. I’ve always been a huge fan of his work and wanted to portray the chickens in a formal Dutch Portrait style. I helped install an exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum of artwork from the Kenwood House Collection from London several years ago. One of my favorite pieces in the exhibit was his Self-Portrait with Two Circles. This was the painting that inspired the background of my hen. She’s one of four girls that lives in Seattle in my friend Paige’s backyard. As the henpecked bird, she was making a grand show of bring larger and fluffing out. I was very fortunate to actually get a shot of the demonstration during my photo shoot for reference images.
You can find her on display along with the rooster at Winfield Gallery. Go to my Available Works page to see all my paintings currently available in galleries and from the studio.
Bovine beauties and classic chickens have posed for two new paintings and three new drawings. On view July 12 – August 25th at Childhood’s End Gallery as part of a group exhibit featuring small artwork from nine northwest female artists.
Childhood’s End Gallery has been around since 1971 and they’re a leading source for fine art and American craft. Located along the waterfront in historic downtown Olympia, step inside and you’ll find something for everyone.
I’ll have two calf paintings of Zebu cows from Holly Freeman’s herd about an hour outside Nashville, TN. She helps run the Columbia Art’s Building and raises all sorts of creatures. See these two painting and more from the Into the Country (larger works) series.
Though my primary medium is oils, keeping up a steady drawing practice informs and strengthens my technical skills. I’ve also always been fond of the medium. I have three affordable portraits of hens and roosters in the exhibition and plan to continue to make more throughout the year. My husband and I have been traveling around the Seattle area this summer taking photos of our friends chickens (one day we’ll have our own!). I’m making four painting for another exhibition opening up next month in LA, but there were so many incredible faces in the mix that I was eager to capture in a portrait. See them all in my gallery of drawings.