- LJ Rucker
My Two-Timing Toucan!
Beginning of this year, I started/continued a tradition of painting a toucan as my first painting for the year (this wasn't intentional, but I realized I did this in 2019 and 2020, so I guess on with the tradition!)
(For fun, these are the two I did back in 2019 and 2020)
It's probably my favorite painting-to-date, as I feel like it's the best piece so far showcasing the art style I'm hoping to continue to refine and develop.
Then in February, a local Arts Institute announced it was time for their annual 5x5 art sale, where volunteers can pick up a free 5"x5" blank canvas, paint something on it and return it, and they would be sold off later to raise funds for local school programs.
I'd seen this in years past, but never jumped on the opportunity to paint something. But I finally did this year!
I grabbed my lil' canvas in February... and if you know me, you'll probably be able to guess I then procrastinated on it for over 2 months until I finally sat down and made myself paint something... the day before it was due.
I've got a wicked talent with procrastinating right up until the hard deadline... it's like my brain is trying to maximize my scheduling or something.
Now, don't mistake my procrastination for inaction... I spent a LOT of time thinking over this little project, what I wanted to paint, what I should paint, what the intended audience would like to see painted, what would work best on a small canvas, etc.
Here is a fantastic article about why Procrastination isn't about laziness, and I feel that part of my struggle with painting something really related to what the author covers in his article.
If you don't have time to read the whole article, here is an excerpt that I think accurately summarizes why painting on this tiny canvas was such a huge struggle for me:
"It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It's a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person's sense of self-worth. You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person. This makes failure or criticism disproportionately painful, which leads naturally to hesitancy when it comes to the prospect of doing anything that reflects their ability - which is pretty much everything."
Whatever I painted on this tiny canvas, I wanted it to be amazing, and reflective of where I want to get as an artist. I wanted it to be good, not just so it would sell and help contribute to the cause, but so I would feel validated as an artist trying to create art.
Ultimately, trying to paint something new was too outside my comfort zone for these goals, and I realized it was more important to paint something I already knew I could paint within the remaining time I had left, rather than trying to paint a new masterpiece on a 5x5 canvas.
So that's why for my finished piece, I painted my 2021 toucan a second time!
Despite the self-inflicted stress and frustration leading up to the deadline, I'm glad I cranked this out and turned it in rather than giving up, even if I re-painted something I'd already done rather than trying something new.
And it was a fun surprise to see that I could pretty much re-create a very similar painting when compared to what I did in January... made me feel like my first toucan wasn't a "Happy little accident!"
If you live in the OKC/Edmond area, you can actually see this on display (Along with all the other 5x5 art pieces) at the Edmond Fine Arts Institute up until Thursday, May 6, where all the pieces will be available for sale as part of their 5x5 Art Show.
The sale will be happening as a part of the Edmond VIBES which is a monthly outdoor event showcasing local artists/shops/food trucks. I wasn't able to make it to the first one in April, but I'm planning on going to the one on May 6 to also check out the 5x5 sale!
Thanks for checking out all my toucans!