Art is an adventure, I tell you! Drawing from life is a special sub-section of marvelous things artists do. Drawing animals from life is the super challenge. In this case I got more than just an artistic experience for my troubles.
I was staying the summer in the small town where my parents live, and I decided to paint chicks after learning that the local feed store had a supply of bitties. So, I arrived at the store, examined the chicks and asked if I could borrow some for a few hours because I wanted to draw them — you know, as though they get this request every day. I said I’d pay for the birds, but could I get some of the money back upon their return? How much is chick rental, anyway?
Well, nice people in small Southern towns rent chicks to artists for free. They told me to bring the birds back when I was finished and “have a good time.” So, off I went.
Back at the house I found a large mental tub where they could hop around. The silvery metal would provide a good background color. So I began to paint.
But from time to time, I had various distractions call me into other rooms of the house, and I’d leave my paints for a few minutes. Each time I left the room: “Cheep, cheep, cheep!” I’d hear the chicks’ frantic call that momma was gone. I reappear, and they’d hush. I’d leave. They started calling me again: “Mother, come back!”
Here’s the painting of my brood. I returned them to the store as promised. Of course it was necessary that they leave the nest someday. I hope that they turned out well as they made their way in the world. And I hope sometimes they think kind things of me, too, their Mum for a day.
(You know, I was a mother cat once too. Ironic, ain’t it.)
[Top of the post: Four Chicks in a Tub, by Aletha Kuschan, oil on panel]