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A critique of “Miss Chicken”

A critique of “Miss Chicken” provided by Alistair and Cordelia, the studio mascots:

Alistair and Cordelia provide a critique of "Miss Chicken".
Alistair and Cornelia critique “Miss Chicken”

“Alistair, look at that pastel titled “Miss Chicken!”. Blue tail feathers?” “Really?” critiques the lovely Cordelia.

“Well Cordelia, you see this is art not a photograph. Of course chickens don’t have blue tail feathers in REAL life!” replies the ever knowledgeable Alistair.

“The title of the piece is “Miss Chicken” so maybe she thinks she’s hot.” surmises Cordelia.

“Perhaps, but then again, maybe the artist used her artistic license to create a colorful passage that we as the audience would enjoy. What do you think?” asks Alistair.

Alistair and Cordelia critique the "Miss Chicken "pastel

Alistair points out the the red wattle and comb and explains to Cordelia how the red and blue colors make the painting pop.

“You see Cordelia, the saturated colors of the comb and tail feathers balance out the more neutral colors of the main body feathers. It’s brilliant.” explains Alistair.

“Well maybe, but I’m not a fan of chicken paintings, Al. I’m a city girl, you know.”

“I mean the last painting we saw was of a Red Barn, which I’m not used to seeing because I live in the city. When will we see something different?” whines Cordelia.

“Oh Cordelia you jest!” amuses Alistair.

Let’s ignore the studio mascots, shall we?

As you see, my latest pastel is of a chicken. I just had to paint this chicken after being inspired by a video from Marla Bagetta. I love chickens and when I saw her paint this one I had to have one of my own. Of course our styles are very different and I really love how hers came out, but I’m pleased with mine. I took a little break from painting landscapes to do this chicken, which was really fun.

"Miss Chicken"

“Miss Chicken” was painted on Buttercup PastelMat paper and is approximately 9.5″ x 8.5″. I used a variety of hard and soft pastels from Terry Ludwig, Unison and Girault as well as Nupastel. My painting is more linear and controlled whereas Marlas painting is loose and freeform.

I have tried to paint the way she paints and I just can’t figure out how to do it. I thought if I used pastels it would help me to loosen up but this must just be the way I paint. Painting is like one’s signature, and reflects our nature. I’m somewhat of an introvert and a neat nut.

I have been paying attention to this phenomenon for awhile now and have discovered that an artist’s essence and personality comes through in their work. It’s really quite amazing. Just because I’m introverted and neat doesn’t mean anything bad, it’s just me. Some folks don’t like that but it’s okay. We can’t please everyone, right? I think this stems from my upbringing whereby my parents believed children should be seen and not heard. My mother despised dirt and would make my sisters and I pick up lint from the carpet after she had just vacuumed. I know! But whatever, I’m not able to change even though I’ve tried, and at my age its not worth it. But I will pursue a more loose style of painting and believe it or not the pastels are helping in my quest. Mainly, I’m having fun and that’s the whole point!

Currently on my easel is a pastel of a sunset and that’s really fun! In between getting the veggie gardens ready for the upcoming season, and planting my seeds to start indoors, painting has taken a bit of a back burner, but I’ll share as soon as it’s finished.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed “Miss Chicken” as much as I did painting her!

Until next time, much love! ~ Rhonda

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“Standing Guard” Pastel

“Standing Guard” is the next painting in the Birds in Pastel series. This new painting showcases a beautiful Buff Brahma rooster standing guard while a female eats her crumble.

The photo reference I used for “Standing Guard” is by a photographer on the website Pixabay named Klimkin. He takes beautiful photos and the Pixaby site allows free use of photos as long as the photographer is given credit. So be sure and give Klimkin a visit!

I sketched out my design in a sketchbook beforehand to get a sense of my values and palette colors. This practice helps me greatly in working out the composition first and foremost. I decided to omit a few of the foreground items in the original photo to give emphasis to these beautiful birds. I used graphite for the notan sketch then moved to watercolors to get a sense of hues for the piece.

Sketchbook notes for "Standing Guard"

I am happy with the overall outcome, and love the vibrant colors of the buff Brahma chickens, which the pastels were a perfect medium to depict their beauty.

Standing Guard Pastel
“Standing Guard”

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original painting.)

I love chickens and used to own three Buff Orpington hens. I raised them from week-old chicks and had so much fun with these sweet docile chickens. Their names were Barbie Q. Chicken, Rose T. Chicken and Fry D. Chicken. Get it? Anyway, in our neighborhood we’re not allowed to have chickens, but we got some anyway and put them discreetly in the backyard. We have wild turkeys running loose already, so what’s the diff?

Well, all was going well and we were getting three eggs a day and then I realized I was now confined to home and couldn’t leave to go on vacation! Someone has to gather eggs daily to keep the hens from becoming broody, or worse, eating their eggs! Since we weren’t technically allowed to have chickens I couldn’t very well ask a neighbor to take care of them should we want to go out of town.

I kept up the care of my sweet girls all summer and stayed home. No big deal. Then one day one of the chickens decided she was a rooster and began to make loud calls every morning. This was not going to go well if one of the neighbors complained, even though the wild turkeys roaming the neighborhood are just as loud. But I felt guilty and so we gave them away to a local farm.

I miss my girls. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted and the fresh eggs were so delicious! But, I was free from the confinement of home and they were well cared for in their new farm home. The new owners gave us free eggs every week which was very cool. Here’s one of the girls:

Barbie Q. Chicken Buff Orpington
Barbie Q. Chicken

My husband wants us to have chickens again, but I don’t think we will. The neighborhood is growing with a lot of new people building homes and I feel we need to stick to the rules of “no farm animals” allowed. But hey, a cat can be considered a farm animal as well as a dog, right? And as I said there are herds of wild turkeys roaming around so what harm can having a couple chickens bring? But then I’d be back to square one of not being able to go out of town, so that’s a big No to the chickens!

I have a few more birds I want to paint in this series; a sparrow and a robin and then I think this series will be finished for awhile. My attention will turn to landscapes and sunsets in pastel for the next two series. I’m enjoying working on a series since I’ve never done so before. I’ve always just painted whatever my attention was on that day, but working in a series is keeping me disciplined and motivated.

Thanks for stopping in and until next time, much Love! ~ Rhonda

  • Red Cardinal
  • Blue Jay in the Forest Pastel
  • Back Capped Chickadee Pastel
  • Black Capped Chickadee in the Snow
  • Hummingbird and Lilacs
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Blue chested Hummingbird
  • Standing Guard Pastel