A little Steller's Jay

A little Steller's Jay

When I started my journey of drawing birds, I never thought of where it might take me. I was doing it because I loved it, and today that is still one of my main reasons.

As an eternal amateur, I always get excited about new materials or techniques, and I tend to draw what I love the most to test these new variants. That was the case with this Steller's Jay. I wanted to practice acrylic. It was a new material for me (and it still is) and I had the perfect new journal where I could test it.

After some research I decided to do the Steller's Jay, but to be honest I don't quite remember why, and why I chose that composition. That was supposed to be a simple test, so these things were not so important.

A few months later I was informed that there was a contest to select 8 international artists living in Finland, to be part of a project developed by Arts Promotion Centre Finland - Taiteen edistämiskeskus Taike and the Ministry of Education and Culture to create dialogue tools for the Unesco Goals, using the art pieces of these artists. The requirements were simple: it needed to be original work and would allow the readability of white text. I was incredibly excited about this, but most of my art was created on white paper or the birds had white feathers. Still, I sent a few options that I was proud of, but I got this feeling that I also needed to send my Steller's Jay, as it was the darkest piece I had at the time (and to this day I believe). So I did.

I don't remember how long I waited for a response, but I know I got it. I was selected! And my Steller's Jay was the chosen art piece.

Selected images for the Unesco Goals Flash Cards

I was so happy and proud, but at the same time so confused. After all, of all the pieces that I sent, the Steller's Jay was the one that I poured the least amount of attention, it was just a test or a moment of fun. I could not see how it was worthy of such recognition. But the thing is, the people who selected it, did not know the story behind it, or any of the other pieces. They saw a bird, they liked the bird, and they chose the bird. All the other attributes were in my head.

I decided to let go of these thoughts. They were of no use to me. I accepted that they selected my "least favourite" because they saw something I did not. I was too emotionally involved in the creation to not be biased.

Now, my Steller's Jay is adorning the Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions card and I could not be any prouder. It is a sign of the universe that my bird was assigned to a goal that I admire so much. Recently I was contacted to ask for permission to have the Steller's Jay on a publication about these cards. I happily agreed. My humble bird, which I did on a rainy Sunday afternoon just to try out some acrylic paints, is travelling the country.

No art piece is ever too small or insignificant to be recognized. It's always just a matter of perspective, and often the perspective of the artist is distorted by knowing the story and the struggles.

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