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  • Charlotte Collins

A Small Act of Salvation

Today, I'm sharing my process of creating a painting to submit to a local art show. The show is titled "The Birds & The Bees: A Coastal Refuge" and is run by the Newburyport Art Association in North Shore Massachusetts.

To be honest, this process was a frustrating one. I ended up going through two preliminary paintings before getting to the final - and the final went through multiple frustrating stages before getting to where I am (mostly) happy with it.

The first painting I made was of a fluffy lil' chickadee. I'd estimate that I spent 6-8 hours on this one. I used a wood panel as a canvas, which is always extremely frustrating for me as the paint wipes off completely with a wrong-angled paint stroke. This painting was definitely a great practice exercise for me as I didn't let myself give up, as I constantly do in my painting process. There are sections of this painting that I'm quite happy with, but as a whole, I don't feel like it demonstrates my painting style well.

Next, I re-routed to a painting of a bee on a flower. I generally find myself drawn to painting flowers. Birds, not so much. I completed this one in just a few hours, as I had one day at my boyfriends' apartment to do it and I wanted to challenge myself to use a looser, alla prima technique. I'm quite happy with parts of the flower in this one, but the bee frustrated me to no end and I don't love how it turned out.

Finally, my third, and final attempt. For this one, I used a photo I had taken of a bee on a flower in the backyard of my parent's house. I started with an acrylic underpainting which ended up with wacky colors.

Then I went in with a layer of oil paint.

I truly hated the colors I chose for this, so I went back in later that day, wiped them off, and started over with new colors. And tada! A few hours of work later, and I finally ended up with a final product that I'm happy with.

I'm proud of myself for working through my frustrations with this process. With each painting in what ended up being a series of paintings, I feel like I was able to loosen up and explore techniques that make my paintings unique. Specifically, I love outlining shapes, and it's time to embrace that!! Fingers crossed this painting, titled "A Small Act of Salvation", makes it into the show.

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