I usually begin a painting with a very specific idea in mind. That was the case with these blue and gold macaws. I love their bright colors and I wanted to showcase them against something much more muted and non-specific. Since I have a longtime crush on Italian Fresco artwork I decided to go that direction with the background. Specifically, I wanted to pay homage to a famous garden fresco originally located in the dining room of the Villa de Livia outside of Rome. The colors worked perfectly with my macaws, and it invoked a feeling that I liked.  The result:  “Macaws on Fresco,” painting #1.  (You can see this version in my prints page – I photographed it before repainting it in the event that anyone preferred a print of this original version)

Once the painting was done I stared at it for a day.  It stared back. It was pretty – I liked it. It captured the mood I was going for. But it wouldn’t leave me alone. I kept looking at it as I walked by the kitchen where I’d set it on the counter by the window. It was nice. But yet… those birds kept poking at me. (Macaws have a lot of personality… so I might’ve been projecting that onto the painting – *smile – but they did seem to trying to tell me something…) “Hey, Rachel (they squawked) – do something wilder with us. We’re super bright – we can handle it!  Go modern, baby…”

I listened.  I painted out the background and created “Mid-Century Macaws,” painting #2. The mood is ENTIRELY different from the fresco style painting. I don’t necessarily think it’s better technically than the first one… but ultimately, it was the painting that was meant to be. The birds are still squawking at me, but now they’re making those satisfied sounds that macaw people know so well.