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The Turkey and the Vulture

daily sketching life as an artist Jul 02, 2021

I stood at the kitchen window eating a fresh tomato sprinkled with herbed salt and watched a wild turkey meander along the hedgerow, carefully selecting berries for breakfast.  A vulture landed on my compost bin on the other side of my blueberry bushes and contemplated how it might obtain the discarded fish parts from Tom's early morning trip to the local stream.  The three of us, the turkey, the vulture and I, continued the task of obtaining nourishment for our bodies, each in our own way.  Though the goal was the same, our methods were different.  Our preferences were different.  We were in the same space, yet worlds apart.

My vision expanded to include the birds singing in the trees, the bees flitting from blossom to blossom, the groundhogs bustling about beneath our deck and my carnivorous pitcher plants awaiting the insects that would find them irresistible.  My backyard became a city not unlike New York, Paris or San Francisco... different homes, different jobs, different languages, different preferences and desires ... yet the same goal.  We all do what we need to do, using our experiences and training, to move from waking to sleeping, over and over again. 

A felt a smile coming on.  The experience of combining the two daily challenges, the annual #30x30DirectWatercolor challenge and my own #100DaysEnPleinAir oil sketches brought me to a similar vantage point, seeing oil and watercolor as two different media that I use to achieve a similar goal of expressing my experience of the world around me.  Each media has unique strengths and characteristics.  Each has its own limitations.  When given the opportunity, or forced by a situation, to open ourselves to people living in different circumstances ... perhaps attending an event, dinner party or gathering ... that our similarities as well as our differences come into sharp focus.

My Lovely Ladies - carnivorous pitcher plants

(left) watercolor (right) oil sketch

I began painting in oils long before painting in watercolor.  I've often compared working in different media to speaking in different languages.  Each medium has a unique vocabulary in addition to the vocabulary that is shared among the various media.  All have the foundation of shape, value, texture, color and mark.  Acrylic and oil share a bit of vocabulary that is not shared by watercolor yet watercolor and acrylic share a bit of vocabulary that is not shared by oil.  A magnificent Ven diagram could be made showing shared and unique vocabulary of the various media available to us as artist.

This brings me to the point of finding it difficult to put into words my experience of painting daily in oil ... often a VERY quick sketch, and also painting in direct watercolor using only one of my daily oil sketches as inspiration and reference.  Thus, my lack of blog posts during the month of June. On occasion I've used a watercolor sketch as reference for an oil painting but I had never used an oil sketch as reference for a watercolor painting. It is the experience of working in watercolor from an oil sketch that has sent me into a new world of creating art!

Sorry to leave you hanging at this point of the story.

Now that the #30x30DirectWatercolor challenge has ended (though I'm continuing it on my own because I'm at the point of breaking through to new territory in my own work thanks to the experiences I've had during the month of June) I'm attempting to translate the experience of my new connection with my own inner artist into words to share with you. 

I welcome your comments and your questions.  It helps me to decipher my thought when asked a specific question.  I realize I'm connecting the dots in peculiar ways while attempting to understand these new aspects of expressing my world through art.  It's a bit like learning the culture of new neighbors or a new country I'm visiting, or like noticing that the vulture is now pecking at the ground only four feet away from the turkey.  They are, the vulture and the turkey, aware of one other's presence yet there's no acknowledgement or interaction between them.  There's also no aggression toward one another.  Though they look as if they're searching for the same breakfast ingredients, yet I doubt that they are. I believe each is finding something totally different hidden in my grass.  They live side by side yet never attend the same dinner party.  

Tree Stump - Direct Watercolor

Day 30 of the #30x30DirectWatercolor 2021 Challenge

Thank you for reading my blog!

Chris Carter



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