Dana Feagin - Whimsical Animal Art in Oil
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January 2016 - Dana Feagin Art News
When is it Done?

© 2016  Dana Feagin , oil, untitled, 36 x 36 
I started this painting during the October Open Studio Tour. This week, I signed it - done!.

This is my largest animal painting to date at 3 feet square. It was more challenging than I expected as I had to back up to the farthest point in my small studio to really see how the painting was progressing. Each time I worked on it, the painting seemed to change color a bit, but it never seemed much closer to being finished. It was time-consuming making just a few brush strokes and backing up repeatedly to see how the painting looked overall. I spent more time studying this painting than I spent painting it. I didn't even have a clear vision of what it might look like when it was finished. I could
 work on this painting for several more months inching slowly forward, or backward, depending on the day, and in the end, it might look almost the same, or worse, overworked. 

Last week, I took a break from this painting and read Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. It's an interesting book, and there are some very specific points I really needed to take to heart. One is that perfectionism is the enemy of what is realistic, possible, and the fun part of what you do. It stops you from completing the work - and being "done" is better than never finishing, even if it isn't your vision of perfect. Also, once you've worked on a project long enough to have learned what you can, it's time to finish it up and move on to new work, and continue improving your art.  

In thinking more about this particular painting, I wanted it to be my best yet since it was my biggest yet - but what exactly was that?  If I wasn't sure, how would it ever be finished? Was it just based on how long I agonized over it? I had learned what I needed from this piece - mostly, that paintings of this size are a bit too big for me to be fun. I don't like having to back up repeatedly, dodging the bunnies and their toys, to see what I should do next.  I needed to finish this painting and move on. I spent the next three painting sessions focusing on the areas that really nagged at me, and then I called it done. Now it just needs a great title!

2015 Charitable Donations

My year-end donation tally is also done!  In 2015, over $1,800 was donated to local animal organizations through my art business. An additional $2,400 worth of original art, prints, and other items featuring my animal art was donated to animal rescue groups for fundraising efforts across the country. If you work with an animal rescue group and would like to receive an artwork donation for your fundraising event, please contact me at

Organizations that received donations in 2015:                

Animal Rescue, Inc - PA                                                 
Equamore Horse Sanctuary - OR        
Farm Sanctuary - NY                                                 
Fluffy Butts Rescue Resort - IA            
Friends of the Animal Shelter - OR     

Lab Lifeline - CA                                   
National Mill Dog Rescue - CO            
New Moon Goat Sanctuary - WA         
Plainfield Humane Society - IL              
Rabbit Haven - WA   
Sanctuary One - OR  
Southern Oregon Humane Society - OR  
Team StinkyKiss Shelter Rescue - SC 
The Sanctuary at Soledad Goats - CA
The Toby Fund - OR
Young At Heart - IL     

Rogue Women - Unique Perspectives on Art - February 5th
Join me, and my Rogue Women artist friends, for the opening reception for our first group show, Friday, February 5th from 5-8PM at Art & Soul Gallery in Ashland. It should be a fun evening of art, music, appetizers, and wine from Eliana Winery. Rogue Women are artists from the Rogue Valley and Northern California, working in a variety of mediums. Can't make the opening? Our show runs from February 2nd through the 28th.


An Update on Nell
And last but not least, an update on Nell, my foster bunny. She was spayed in late December and I decided to try bonding her with my other bunnies, Chelsea and Chive. If it works out, she will be my third studio bunny. The first meeting went surprisingly well (below). However, the last two days did not go well, with Chive fighting with both girls - so, we are taking a break, allowing tensions to settle down, and will start over next week.  It's another work in progress story - hopefully a short one!

Until next month.....                

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