ODE TO POPPY
This is a painting of Poppy. She belonged to the family of my friends Liz and Ann. Poppy died a couple of months ago as a very old dog and lived a fortuitous life. I witnessed the loving attention that Liz gave poppy in her last few weeks. They were in a slow meditation together on their short walks. As Liz and I worked on my stair building project, I could see that poppy and Liz were learning some deep lessons from each other about feeling, suffering and letting go. It was all important and necessary.
Ann sent me a video of Poppy for this painting. It was an interesting experience to paint a portrait from a moving image. The video caught a vital moment characteristic of Poppy. I remember her fondly as she would greet me with excitement on her back, her little legs twitching. I would pat her belly and her eyes would glaze over as she blissed out. It brought back memories of my 3year old self blissing out as my grandmother rubbed my belly. My grandma also died this year at the ripe age of 99years and 6months and I’m grateful for my memories of her. Poppy gave me that remembered experience.
In my paintings of late, I’ve been trying to study movement and my memory. Through this video I got to study the movement of Poppy as her legs quivered in the air; how her super white coat reflected all the light around her. In my memory she was a shimmering dazzling thing. In my memory I remember myself blissing out and glowing with satisfaction. I’ve tried to express these qualities of her in this painting. I’ve never painted and animal portrait before and although I’ve got a reasonable physical likeness, I’m most interested in the movement, aliveness and quality of my subject. My memories and feelings help me to deepen beyond observation.
This painting has got me excited to really study moving things. For instance today is windy and I’ve been out drawing clouds. Crazy I know, but it seems appropriate as this year closes and we transition into a new year. Well friend, I’m having a month off writing to experiment with paint and movement as I begin to prepare for my exhibition in September next year at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery. Thanks for hanging out with me and reading my blog. Ive really enjoyed sharing my painting thoughts with you.