April is moo… and chirp — Cows & Canaries


Cow illustration from PoBird Children’s Book by Niya C. Sisk

March was fabulous. I’m excited about many of the paintings. Lots of new explorations and discoveries. We went from varied flower series’s in a few different styles to wild hot air balloons, Dr. Suess characters and kites, digital collage of a couple of the paintings and traditional collage of whimsical animals in flower animated worlds.

I do have one regret about all those bright flower paintings in March. My friends who were still in below zero temps in different parts of the country. May flowers would have been more polite. My teacher who taught the flower art techniques class lives on the west coast. My friends and subscribers took it well though. It tickled their excitement for spring.

Why Cows and Canaries in April? I have over a hundred photographs of cows that I took in Northern Ca. a few years back. I’m always wanted to paint them. And, I love cows. So earthy and charming. So much character in their faces. Birds are natural storytellers. And their color palettes make me swoon. I look forward to their narratives. 

How is the project going? What began as simple 10-20 minute watercolors has grown into full-on immersions late into many nights after the work day. I often find myself eating dinner at 9 p.m. and working until 10 or 11. Good rock and blues music helps a lot. But, I’m not worried about these late night immersions. Much of it comes from the classes I’ve been taking on top of the project which end next week. I like how around the third week of a theme I begin to run out of approaches to the theme. That’s when it gets really creative (and animals sneak in). “Flower forest and sweet elephant,” “A little of this, a little of that…” “The bunny who runs the sky” are examples of when this phenomena occurred. Oh, and I learned I’m not crazy about painting on wood. But I adore collage–lends itself to the imagination.

Prints: The popular prints that sold this month? “Little Bunny, Big Dreams,” Several of the wildflowers series, particularly #1. And both Red Poppies were popular. This month’s donation goes to a small horse rescue, Hidden Springs Horse Rescue that is funded by donations only.

What’s coming in the months ahead? On the idea shelf is:

May: Rabbits & Print or Doors & Dogs? Hard decision. I have a ton of colorful door photos from Greece. And love, love, love rabbits, dogs and the art of print. We shall see.

June: Food & Wine. I’m in San Francisco this summer starting June 1. Is there any better place to create paintings with food & wine at the center of the table? (pun intended).

July: Figure & Ground. Human/animal form and landscapes. In the spirit of abstract expressionism.

August: Fishes & Bicycles. The plan is deep sea diving in Kona, Hawaii. Rent a bicycle, join the fishes… yes, I think so.

Other themes in the brainstorm pile: Penguins & Pirates, Rabbits & Roads, Cafes & Cars. And, TBD.

WM Rine sums up the March showcase nicely in his comment on the woman in the billowy dress floating up to the moon:

“Your work is always playful, but it’s been so light this month.”

March Flowers & Fabric Visual Summary:

Niya Christine Painting Summary. March 2013


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One comment

  • WM Rine April 1, 2013  

    We’re a quarter of the way through the year. “Only” a quarter and at the same time, “oh my gosh is it April already?” I just wanted to say thank you for talking me into doing mine and for all the company along the way. And I can’t say that without adding that I’m humbled by the dramatic development your work has gone through. I need to find some more time or a catalyst like you’ve used with that class you’ve done to take your work to wonderful new places.