Painting the Birds

By Gina | No. 01

On one particularly good day, I posted to Instagram that I’ll be doing a 30-day painting challenge. Of course, I may have been too enthusiastic and said I’d paint one bird every day for 30 days.

That lasted all of three days when it became clear that some days I didn’t want to paint. And that’s okay. The self-inflicted anxiety of painting one bird a day and posting it to Instagram like a signal of commitment became much. I was starting to hate the endeavor. On top of that, where were some days when my 9-5 was wearing me down.

I changed my approach. Paint 30 birds, move on. Paint another 30 of something, move on. After all, it's not about the fucking birds. It's about the painting, the practice, and enjoyment of the medium to ground me in this crazy world. I mean, who was I painting for? Generally, the folks who follow me probably don’t care at all about the birds. I'm sharing it on the off chance it might brighten someone else up. Art has a way of doing that.

What’s my painting telling me?

In a world where trivial matters seem to open a world of understanding, call it a "third eye," painting has been enlightening. When I set out to do something, I have an end goal in mind. That's normal. Right? Well, my intent is good. The enthusiasm is there. But it just never happens fast enough. This must be common because it was pointed out by Emily Eley during a webinar she hosted about a week ago.

You can have 90 percent intention and enthusiasm and 10 percent effort but that ain't going to get you to successville. 

I am slightly impatient because I fail to understand the effort involved in getting to where I want to go.

When I dove back into painting in late June, I've never used gouache before. The first few paint studies were impatient. The first few birds I painted were impatient. The one silly thing YouTube videos gloss over (for good reason): drying time. Ten birds in and I'm starting to find a rhythm. I'm figuring out my style. Now, to figure out how to apply this meditation to other hobbies and aspects of my life.

You can see all the birds I’ve painted on my Instagram stories.


For Your Consideration…

A New Yorker asks Jake Dobkin over at Gothamist if he’s going to send his kids to school in September. Tl;dr: unsure but remote-work life will definitely make remote schooling a challenge. And these are likely parents who, in better circumstances, could afford child care while they went about their jobs. Imagine the families who pretty much don’t have a choice because of their class status. The push to reopen, remotely or in person, also seems to lack any support structure for parents themselves. This school year will most definitely be interesting. In the back-and-forth about school reopening, a petition is circulating urging Gov. de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to provide outdoor learning. Many schools in NYC are not up to spec with HVAC and other systems that would circulate indoor air at an acceptable rate so the thinking is outdoor learning will be good. Without question, yes, Times Square is NYC’s worst attraction.

I watched Green Hornet starring Seth Rogan for the first time. It is so godawful but it’s clearly written by Rogan so at least it’s (mostly) funny. You’d be better off watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (ultimate cut). You’re welcome. I read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for the first time, too. I appreciate the storytelling but I found it losing steam towards the end. It’s good it ended where it did. No, I haven’t watched the TV series and not interested. Looking for your next read? Check out all the books I read so far this year.


NYC Ain’t Dead


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