Winter Painting: Have You Ever?

"Have You Ever" art


Painting Winter: “Have You Ever?”

I casually  (vaguely?)  mentioned this painting a couple-three months ago.   And let it drop.    The subject slumbered silently (probably forgotten (by everyone but me).  I wasn’t feigning indifference.  I wasn’t hoping my mysterious nonchalance might pique interest (truly; I’m always at a loss as to what to do when piqued interest actually materializes…). No, no.  No, my enigmatic tone was a cover for sheer frustration; I’d neglected to take a good picture of the painting before I sent it off to my friend Elaine’s boutique. I had no actual proof of the painting to post on my blog.

I have decent pictures now, having remembered to take a good camera with me on my most recent visit to the boutique (I also took my dear friend Stephanie with me, but that story will have to wait for another post, and so will a better picture of Elaine, who eludes a good shot like a phantom myth…let’s just call her “Nessie”).

at the gillded branch, the mysterious Elaine(Elaine, Holladay’s Loveliest Urban Legend)
The Gilded Branch, with a friendSteph, Perusing with Amazing Hair

Let me tell you about the painting, dearly beloveds.

Have You Ever heard Brandi Carlisle’s “Have You Ever”? If I could make my painting sing it, I would.  This song was on my mind as I painted, late last winter. Expressing in notes and lyrics  my own experience, how euphoric and revelatory aloneness can be sometimes.

"Have You Ever" detail, bird

However. Though I love the song, the painting was at first a disappointment to me. Not euphoric at all. I liked the texture of the ground I was experimenting with (tissue paper wrinkled and glued onto board with gesso, painted over with oil)…but. Thinking back, I cannot quite articulate what I didn’t like about the painting… it probably had something to do with my fear that it wasn’t “real” art (I keep doing that). Unable to throw it out entirely, I turned it to the wall (this actually happens a lot). Eventually I primed the back of the painting and even sketched on it with charcoal, intending to conduct another experiment on the back. But I was thinking about the front painting again, feeling wistful, kind of liking it. I invited it to audition itself one last time, letting it sing silently (face outward) in my studio. Intrigued by the possibilities that a slightly altered composition promised, I cropped it, put it in a refurbished thrifted frame, and fell in love. I don’t know if that’s wise. A fellow artist once warned me about letting a painting become precious to me. I get that. I’ll work on being more detached with future paintings. I think.

painting of a girl and a bird
at The Gilded Branch

PS: Radical subject change: I’m finally ready to share pictures of our home here, this week. We’ve taken many; I’ll pick through and find the best (of course). Maybe one or two of the worst (like Ezra’s chewing gum stuck to Meisha’s bed post?). At any rate, I’ll share. Soon. This week.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kim February 11, 2014, 7:16 pm

    I love this painting. I love the colors and the texture but mostly I just love how it makes me feel. Calm and ethereal. So beautiful.
    Kim recently posted…A Michaels/Hometalk Pintertesting Party!My Profile

    • Lynaea February 13, 2014, 10:12 pm

      Thank you so much Kim! That is one of the things that I have learned to love about winter…how ethereal it can feel. And beautiful.

  • Diane | An Extraordinary Day February 5, 2014, 5:54 pm

    Beautiful. Your words, your painting, the story together.
    Thank you.

  • Tabetha January 26, 2014, 2:11 pm

    Ah, so beautiful!! Your works (& your thoughts) are always lovely– more, more!!
    Tabetha recently posted…New Year’s Resolutions: Shop SmallMy Profile

    • Lynaea February 4, 2014, 8:48 am

      Thank you Tabetha. Said with a sigh… I just haven’t had the bandwidth lately to pick up my brush. I would like more too.

  • Leah January 23, 2014, 11:01 pm


    I really like this painting. I’m so glad you allowed for a re-audition. The feel of it almost startles me. It’s what I notice first. I can’t help thinking, why does this picture tug at my heart strings?
    What is it about it? The feeling is obvious but the explanation is not, which gives it a mysterious quality. The feeling it evokes in me, as near as I can describe, is a sense of sweet sadness ~ submissive strength. Can paintings be ironic? Does she know the bird is there? I feel like the bird wants her to know. It haunts me to not know if she knows. The bird is so pointed toward her and her back is so much to the bird and it’s only the two of them and the trees. It makes me want to cry.
    I hope it won’t sell. I want you to keep it until I can buy it.

    • Lynaea January 25, 2014, 7:19 pm

      I didn’t plan it all that way…it just sort of played out. And I like it for similar reasons. I feel like we could stand together looking at it and wonder together…what did the artist mean by it? Even though I’m the artist. I can say that birds…and trees…and quiet time (blessed wilderness) have all been powerful, evocative metaphors for me, these past five years. Thank you so much for loving what I’ve done, sistah. You should know your books are displayed as art in Nora’s room, through open houses and showings and everyday comings and goings. Love you.

  • Nancy Wilson January 22, 2014, 8:58 pm

    I love the painting, the girl the bird they do look mystical…to me. I do not know the song but will have someone help me figure out how to play it. sounds delightful. Love you.

    • Lynaea January 25, 2014, 7:15 pm

      Nola will know. Nola could probably even sing it to you. (= Love you Mom.

  • Deb @ LakeGirlPaints January 22, 2014, 8:16 am

    Love your style! and love your story telling.
    I’m sure there’s a story behind this –
    When I see it, it reminds me of the verse, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it.'” Isaiah 30:21
    Have a great day,
    Deb @ LakeGirlPaints recently posted…Chalkboard Photo Frames Painted on Side TableMy Profile

    • Lynaea January 25, 2014, 7:14 pm

      I love that verse!! Today was a long, crazy day…it is so sweet to sit down and check on comments and find this. I love that something here triggered your memory of that verse, and that you were generous enough to mention it. Another kindred spirit…Thank you Deb.

  • Shari January 22, 2014, 7:40 am

    I have to admit (shh, don’t tell) that I always have the mute on my computer because I typically don’t like to be assailed with the mishmash of sounds that comes from internet hopping (much more sophisticated than surfing). BUT- I was intrigued and played the song while I read the post. Mmmm, like roast beef and salt, raspberries and chocolate. . . Delicious. Thanks again Lynaea.

    • Lynaea January 25, 2014, 7:12 pm

      Yay! Then we are kindred spirits. Which I already knew. And… if a picture can say a thousand words, something even grander can be said for the right tune. I’ll try to think what it is. But I believe in the idea.

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