The painting I never finished. It began as my Advanced Art class’ project years ago in high school. I was the only student in the entire class that semester, as it turned out. My “class hour” was combined with the Intro to Art class, a group of young and enthusiastic freshmen. It was a fun and interesting set up, as that class was a lively one at times. I worked on my separate projects, while the teacher taught them basics, and every day the students would stop and see how far my work was coming along.
This is my 2nd painting using oils, and one I didn’t know would take me so long to get through. I put many extra hours into it, but alas, the semester was not long enough for how slow an artist I was. And so, it happened that I could not finish it in time. Oil paints were far too expensive for me to spend money on, and I was soon heading off for college, so the painting was put on hold. Time passed, and I never did get around to buying the needed supplies, or decide which color combinations would work best for its unfinished sky and distant lake. And so, it has remained the same; one of those unforgotten, yet lacking-time-and-resources pieces.
I’d planned on making the mountains and hills a bit more green and finishing up the ones close to the foreground, and the lake coursing between them behind the hawk would be a tinted gold. For the clouds and sun beams cascading from above and behind the hawk, I haven’t been sure what color scheme to go with. There’s the problem of not allowing the background or sky to overpower the “hawk” central piece. Even today, I’m not sure what would work best, if I were ever to get around to it again. But I don’t know, a part of me likes it just the way it is, too. Unfinished, yet finished enough. The hawk courageous and powerful in the center, staring defiance to all that would strive and shake it from its eternal perch…
Why a hawk? I had never tried drawing or painting a full-sized hawk before. But as a child I was always doodling and drawing little art pieces of birds and their various species. I loved and admired the gift of flight, wanting so much as a child to sprout my own wings and fly through the heavens where they dwelled, unbound to the earth and free… So, it was inevitable that this project be with some species of bird. A hawk has often been a symbol of courage, something I needed in life, and they are among the highest fliers in the “bird kingdom,” reaching heights few ever dare! I loved that.
Piecing it together, everything was done from scratch. For reference I used a small photo in one of many bird books I’d collected (as a child I was an amateur bird watcher J ) so I could see the shape and profile of a hawk and the structure of its feathers. The background reference is from a post card I bought during one of my family’s past visits to Scotland, a lovely lock surrounded by mountains. I adjusted it a bit to fit the painting. The sky is from a separate post card, also from Scotland, I believe. The branch and leaves I made up myself.
A name? Well, when I look at it, the two words this brings to my mind are “courage” and “brave.” There were many times when I caught sight of the painting while I was upset or stressed, and it seemed as if the hawk was staring back at me, saying “Stop worrying like this. Pull yourself together! Be brave, take courage!” The verse coming to mind:
“Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” –Isaiah 40:31
In other words, stop worrying and trust/wait for God’s helping hand through whatever the problem is. He strengthens me, and “with wings like eagles” symbolizing strength I can run and continue forward on Life’s path ahead.
The hawk radiated strength and beauty from its magnificent perch, fearless of height and adversity. And so, I would try and heed that advice. Be brave, take courage.
My conclusion? I feel “Courage” is the best suited name for this unfinished piece.
Looking at it now, it’s almost as if the hawk has a secret smile on his face… Don’t you think?
What projects do you have lying around, unfinished? Share your story here, and on the linked FB page!