Monday, April 2, 2012

How To Paint a Chicken in Only Ten Days

It's finally finished! These eighteen by twenty-four inches of poultry goodness sat on my easel for months waiting for attention. I used the Make Your Own Paint By Number Template technique I described in an earlier post to make my template, transferred it to a stretched canvas with carbon paper, and spent more than 20 hours painstakingly painting the bird. I'm so pleased with the result! This is my second piece on canvas, and I avoided the problems I had with my first canvas and enjoyed the process much more this time. And after using this technique to make landscapes, portraits, and still lifes, I've decided that the technique is best suited to portraits and still lifes, especially those that prominently feature a single object or person, NOT sweeping landscapes.

Inspired by a very silly game of Apples to Apples during which my father tried to defend the idea of "calm chicken" with some of the strangest noises I've ever heard, this piece was originally intended to be my mother's Christmas present. But when I got to the chicken's legs and feet, I panicked. Chickens have creepy feet! I was afraid that I'd paint them poorly and ruin the piece, and it sat far too long while Mom patiently waited. But I recently found new inspiration; I want to paint a trio of small images from Botticelli's Primavera mural! I wanted to get this off the easel and into Mom's kitchen, so over the weekend I finished the piece we've dubbed Calm Chicken.

Even though it sat for a long time, it only took 10 working days (or 25 hours!) to paint it.  For a day by day breakdown and a preview of what's next on the easel, keep reading.
Click to enlarge
So. Much. Chicken. I'm fond of the little guy and I love the way he turned out, but I'm looking forward to putting him aside and making a trio of very small square canvases featuring vignettes from this piece:

So much to choose from! I like blindfolded cupid, the dancers looking each other in the face, and the sassy angle at which the boy puts his hand on his hip. What is your favorite part of this painting?


  1. Wow you're so talented! I can only just about managed to get a bought paint-by-numbers right never mind a self-made canvas piece. Amazing xx

    1. Hi Pickle! And thank you. I can't even draw a straight line, but you'd be surprised by how easy this technique is... you'll never know unless you give it a try. :)

  2. Just for the record: I LOVE IT! You could put a price on it by 25 hours times cost per hour, but to me it is PRICELESS and worth waiting for. Now. When do I get it? Love, Mom

    1. YAY! I'm so glad you like it, Mom! If I charged $10 per hour times 25 hours, plus $25 or so for supplies, that means you got the most expensive Christmas present this year. If you want to come to the library on Thursday, I can give it to you there.

      P.S. The library's Easter Egg hunt is on Thursday; I'll put you to work! Mwahahaha. :D


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