My extremely capable daughter has been making a name for herself in a field that I didn’t even know was a field, namely, “poultry portraiture.” Her most recent foray into this enterprise came after we invited longtime friends John and Hilary over for dinner when we first got to Princeton, and they watched delightedly as we showed off some of Pippa’s work. When they saw her depictions of other chickens, they — recidivist poultry keepers — both realized instantly that Pippa had to come meet Lucky, their new rooster.
They commissioned Pippa to paint a portrait of Lucky (whose life story merits a whole separate post), and Pippa began a series of studies for the commission. First she got acquainted with the rooster, then took a series of photos of him. She looked over the alternative images, and chose several candidates. She printed them out, cropped, edited, and re-selected, finally arriving at one particular image. Then she cut out the “Lucky” part of the image with an Xacto knife and traced the image onto a legal pad. After that, she executed a freehand version of the image on plain paper and — having satisfied herself that she was ready — got out the canvas and paints, and set to work.
Margaret and I were instantly captivated; we spent the last week regretting that this was a commission and would have to leave us. Yesterday we brought the painting, veiled, to Hilary and John’s house to introduce them to it.
They loved the painting as much as we did, and Hilary rushed to compare the painting to the subject. Lucky himself showed no interest whatever in the glorious representation of his handsome profile (he’s a very self-effacing rooster).
It was a wonderful afternoon, a splendid luncheon with delicious dessert of apple crisp made of fresh apples from Terhune Orchards, all presided over by Hilary and John’s latest acquisition.