Beth Meadows

About the Painting: Llama

"animal", "art", "cute", "outdoors", "painting", "sad", "thankful"BComment
I'm not sure if anyone has gathered this, but I really like animals. I like them so much that when I was finishing up college, I got a job working at a vet clinic, just to see what it was like*.


Llama
acrylic on canvas
2011
Sold (I will have prints of this soon)

The clinic was about a 20 to 30 minute drive from where I lived in downtown Knoxville, and most of the time, I was the only employee there with my boss. I'd spend my hour long lunch breaks alone and also the afternoons, when she'd leave for a few hours.

As I've mentioned before, I was really down back then but was too confused, prideful, (something), to do anything about it. I bring this up because, even though my job was really great, it wasn't good for me to be alone so much.

On my hour lunch break, I did various things alone in the area, trying to distract myself from thinking too much.

One activity I enjoyed was taking walks at Victor Ashe Park. It's not an aesthetically pleasing park and best serves soccer players and disc golfers, but there's a path that runs through it to the far end where it crosses a small road, passes over a creek via a bridge, and winds with the creek through woods and large backyards.

So I'm walking there for the first time, woods on either side, listening to the water rush over root and rock. And I'm looking at the back of these people's houses and their large yards wondering if I'm really supposed to be back there, but there are other people on the path as well.

I look up, and there he is: A dirty white llama standing in the creek, looking straight at me.

He was beautiful. He was magic.

He had a friend lying in the grass behind him, and I stood for a while there, watching and falling in love. And for a brief moment, the dark cloud above my head dispersed.

***

When I'm feeling down, one of my safety nets is seeing something/someone doing what it/they do best, even if it's not particulary exciting.

Besides being cuddly and soft, I think this is part of the reason why I love animals. They are so good at being what they are.

That day I saw the llama, he was perfectly fulfilling his role as a llama, and it made me really grateful.

***

About the painting:

In the beginning stages, I painted a llama from Machu Picchu, with the mountains and ruins behind and below him. I wanted him to be magical and strong, so it seemed like a good idea to have him standing on a tall cliff.

I decided, however, that this idea took away from the fact that anyone could happen upon this llama, as I did. I also thought it was important to have the creek.

I painted the sky pink first, and then about 20 other colors. At the time I was painting it, my friend Josh was practicing for a double bass recital in the room next to my studio a lot. As the sky changed from light yellow to white to dark grey to black, he kept telling me to make it pink again. He knows as much about art as I do about the double bass (very little), and I can't say I wanted to trust him, but for some reason, I did.

I also made the llama white because I didn't want dirt to read as brown fur. I also wanted to make him a little more fantastical, because he is. Fantastic.

*If you like animals because they are soft and cuddly, I wouldn't necessarily recommend working at a vet clinic. For all the cuteness, there is just as much that's sad, terrible, tragic, painful. I learned a great deal there.