Monday, October 21, 2013

Launching the Cow......

The 2014 American Society of Aviation Artists forum is scheduled for April. Since we usually meet in June, this means all deadlines have been bumped up two months, including the Call for Entries for the exhibition. If I want to have anything reasonable to show for my time, it was apparent that I'd better get busy.

But what to take off my full plate? I decided to take a two month leave from singing with my chorus to get some work done. This hiatus, although short, would still be filled with projects, including private music lessons, but without the amount of administrative functions I'd allowed myself to take on. It would be an opportunity to dust off some of the "great painting ideas" that had been shoved aside the past couple of years. The first folder to emerge from the dusty file pile contained sketches of a JN4 (Jenny) in a field of cows. I contacted my long time friend and mentor, Charles Thompson, and announced that it was time to launch the cow- again.

The original idea was to tell the story of a pilot ready to take off from a field only to be hindered by cows. This was eventually sketched out to include one cow, obviously in the way. I sent off the sketches which were promptly returned via email by Charles with his ever useful advice on composition and values.

He also suggested that the cow and the pilot make some sort of eye contact. Hmmm. Not being sure of how a cow could reasonably look up at a pilot in a cockpit, I ventured off to the local pasture the following morning to do some research.

The closest cow population is fed at 0730 when the farmer comes with hay on a flatbed truck. Since I walk daily at 0700, this was not a stretch for timing. I poured a cup of coffee, walked down to the pasture and waited. The cows languished lazily, some lying down, some standing. After awhile one wandered away. No farmer yet, though. Soon another and another wandered away from the fence and sauntered toward the farther fence. Still no farmer. They weren't worried. I wanted another cup of coffee. Patience, I thought.

Eventually they all began strolling lazily toward the far fence. Then I heard the sound of the truck- the farmer cometh. Empty. He went right past the field- and me- and after awhile came back loaded with hay, driving around the corner and down the other road to where the cows were waiting. By the south gate!!! I hoofed it around the corner as his farm hand unlocked the gate to let the truck in. The farmer drove along through the pasture while the hand tossed hay from the back of the truck with cows ambling along behind, unconcerned and yet confident that their breakfast would be served in due time.

Patience. It occurred to me that my normal Tigger mentality was hindering not only my previously way too full schedule, but also the composition of the painting. Instead of doing a painting of a hurried pilot locking eyes with a cow, why not a hurried pilot with a cow that doesn't give a rip?

I went home and sketched out a new composition with the cow in an "I don't give a rip" stance which I sent off to Charles for review. We'll see. I'm feeling better about having a little time to shift focus and complete some tasks in a less hurried manner, perhaps with an even more bovine mentality......

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