Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A Hen or a Rooster?

I hope I have piqued your interest....this is not a case of which came first the chicken or the egg but is it a hen or is it a rooster!?

This is not my first time with chickens as my subject matter. I did a series of 'chicken' mono prints several years ago - they found their 'forever' homes and I moved on to other subject matter. I have to give a nod to Robert Burridge for sending me back to the 'hen house'. He did a quick demo at his workshop I attended last month using the acrylic skin off his palette as the start for a chicken painting. I finally got around to giving it a try at home. I did add more detailed plumage, head and legs and I guess painted over most of the acrylic skin, but it was a nice surface to continue painting on.  After posting on Facebook I realized some people thought this was a rooster. I know, roosters are the most colourful, but I have decided that my hen's can be too! So, here 'she' is in all her glorious plumage...Ruby!

'The Fairest Fowl - Ruby'
Acrylic mixed media on canvas


  1. Janet, your use of subtle transitions to create a sense of 'landscape' context for Ruby is compelling; the negative space here is quiet but layered, nuanced, and textured, calling my eye to keep exploring over and over again. Is the honeycomb—which, by the way, creates an increased sense of farm/barnyard here—a stencil? or? Ruby herself offers up a delightful contrast, showcasing her relatively flamboyant presence. You create here a surface simplicity which simultaneously holds history, detail, and depth.

  2. Hi Dotty - thank you, thank you for such great comments. Sometimes I am not quite sure if a painting needs more or less and somedays it is harder than others to decide! I must admit, it was fun and freeing painting her. Lots of layer of collage - some patterned paper, some just plain. Builds up the layers and gives the surface a certain richness. I did use a couple of stencils (circles & numbers) and 2 different sizes of sequin waste (punchinella) for the background. Again many thanks and enjoy some time in your studio.

  3. What Dotty said, I want to say the very same thing. Your background is so rich, and somehow there is depth. so soothing, my eye wants to take it all in, and then rest there surrounded in peaceful splendor. And Ruby. Well I knew she was a she before I read. Then seeing you name her. I am hearing that Kenny Rogers tune, "Ruby, don't take you love to town." and giggling at thinking of cartoon fowl in a short musical video. LOL. I love her plumage, She has got her Saturday night best on! Love how you left her body less detailed, but still rich with visual texture and pattern. She is standing proud and strong, really wonderful all around :)

  4. Hi Janet: Just spent an enjoyable half hour reading your blog. Wanted to say how much fun it was to paint with you this week. I really like your work and your process -good to see where you were in your art before coming to River Rock this time. Again, sorry about the 'cat'!!! arg