Chicken little and a lot of little chickens

paintings-in-racksOne thing nice about an open studio is that you can haul out work you haven’t seen in a while. Some of it may not have been shown for a long time.

Unlike other artforms such as theater, music, and dance where the same play or song gets performed over and over again, visual art is generally shown once and then often it’s not shown much afterwards. This seems to be a manifestation of our cultural hunger for all things new, but is particular to the visual arts where exhibit organizers demand never-before-seen work for every show. Of course, work that makes it into an art history volume it’s seen repeatedly, but many paintings and drawings languish in storage cabinets never to be seen again or be shown only in retrospectives.

So I though I’d take this opportunity to pull out a few pieces you might have missed.

Work often comes out of autobiographical cubbyholes or is inspired by those we know. This piece is based on Janie’s chickens and Zoe’s friend’s baby.

Evan Ensconced
Evan Ensconced, acrylic on canvas, 30×24 in, © Jean Reece Wilkey | Sold

I wanted to paint chickens ever since my days living in Latin America where roosters and paintings of them are ubiquitous. I also wanted to paint them because chickens are a real kick and because they naturally form very interesting and constantly changing patterns with their collective movement. So I spent the better part of an afternoon taking photos of Janie’s chickens. She also has a horse called Annie.

After sifting through my many jpegs trying to decide what I’d use, my friend Zoe serendipitously produced a picture of her friend’s baby, Evan, dressed in a chicken costume. I’m telling you, it was a no brainer.

The result was this ‘chicken baby’ painting. That’s not the real name, of course, which is Evan Ensconced, but my paintings often get nicknamed and the nicks seem to stick.

So come out and see the Chicken Baby in person at my open studio on Feb 15 and 16 from 10-4 pm.  I’ll be showing newer pieces along with older work that will be selling at older prices so it’s a great time to pick up a piece.

The Studio Tour is part of the For the Love of Art month and will be held, well, in my studio of course. You can download the For Love of Art guide to events that has a map to all the studios in the tour – including the one next door to me – Storm Sermay’s brand new studio where you can see her beautiful black and white photography of landscapes and people in tattoo parlors.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even show you the painting, Primary Peeps and Complementary Cluckers

2 Replies to “Chicken little and a lot of little chickens”

  1. Love this blog — great explanation of the truth of “old” paintings and a great introduction to one of your old paintings. And for a new artist like me, a great example of how to publicize an open studio. Absolutely makes me want to come.

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Thanks Lynne. I absolutely wish you could come too. If I can figure it out I’m thinking of doing a ‘hangout’ for people from away. It would be fun to have virtual folks there too.

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