Unlike some artists who have just the perfect wooden palette, I typically use repurposed items. Pretty sure the friend who festively delivered Christmas cookies on this gingerbread plate last December would not recognize said plate today. But seriously, I challenge you to think of a better use for my gingerbread plate than mixing paints! Well, Simon my first “foster fail” would like to suggest that a napping hammock is even better. Honestly, though, look at that cute face: how could that be a fail?
A short (or long. . . who keeps up) time ago, rather than trying to manage the spay and neutering of all of the stray cats near my home in Leesburg, I joined forces with some wonderful local programs that support catch and release or foster for adoption. Catch and release was easy, so I felt assured when I proudly worked with two litters of kittens and their moms. Getting those little kittens to trust a human hand, teaching them to play, and nursing any nutritional or physical issues went even better than I expected. “I can do this,” I thought. Artist by day and kitten playmate by night, no time to be bored. All went well UNTIL Simon waltzed into my life. He came to me all alone and afraid, but soon joined forces with a sister and a brother from an earlier litter, both of whom were well acquainted with human contact and thus less skittish. A couple weeks went by, and Pee Wee and Dora checked out as ready to adopt. But my Simon–notice how I just said “my”–exactly the problem. I love all the kittens who find me, but I knew that as an official foster mom, not to mention keeping peace at home with the other adult cats, I need to surrender the fosters. But Simon, my little skittish guy, even though he has grown and is a healthy boy, well, he is now the newest member of the studio. And as a beginner, he had to start at the beginning. . .mixing paints, of course. Well actually, that is not the beginning step, but it sure is fun!
I laugh when I posted to my Instagram that Simon was “FosterFail” because just as in art, is there really a fail? Is it really so bad when my finished painting looks nothing like what I intended, yet the next time it might look exactly what I had envisioned? Creativity for me is organic. . .it accepts the unexpected, it considers expectations a nuisance, and it is always filled with love. Certainly I enjoy collaboration for commissions; the learning takes place in the dialogue. Hearing the stories of my customers brings a level of depth and richness to the artwork that is unachievable otherwise. I know that my customers appreciate my style and could care less what my palette looks like. How do I know this? Well, simply put, the palette isn’t what they have commissioned or purchased. They know and trust my creative style, my zest for life, and my desire to allow the art to emerge and take on a life of its own. Whimsy, love, plants, animals=Drawing On My Heart: the perfect equation for authentic design, masterfully mixed paints, and a whole lot of fun — Nicki (and Simon)