The true story of this still life is as follows. I was out for a hike in the woods with my father- in-law and we happened to bring our shotguns with us (which we use to scare off hunters from harming innocent woodland creatures) along with a giant bag of bird feed (which I'll get to later). It was a beautiful autumn day when all of a sudden, a rabid 6 ft grouse jumped out of the woods holding what appeared to be a rusty shiv. He made a throat slitting gesture towards me, followed by cutting his own tongue open to let me know he was serious. I told him I didn't want any trouble and I would just be on my way. He motioned to the giant bag of bird seed I was carrying and instructed me to hand it over. I told him I was delivering it to the orphanage for adorable baby ducklings. He eventually became impatient and violently came at me. I had no choice but to break his leg with a spinning round house kick. Knowing he was defeated and having no chance of survival, he picked up the end of my shotgun barrel and placed it on his head. I knew what had to be done. I had to do the humane thing. That day I took a life, but in return, I may have saved my father-in-law's. After that, I figure I would paint him then eat him (the bird, not my father-in-law). Below is a picture of the grouse in his final moments.
On that note, let's talk about painting. When painting anything that is perishable, it is going to change over the course of the project. This means you have to work fast to block in the drawing and large groupings of color. Things like superficial textures and details will have some level of conceptualization as the object decays, thaws, etc. At times it is possible to substitute one object for another. Example would be an apple versus say, a killer grouse. However, in the case of this painting and many of Kate's Icarus series, we don't have an unlimited supply of dead birds. (One of the reasons Kate started painting kittens. Pick up a new litter every week from the SPCA.) When I had the bird out, I had to be working as fast as I could towards completion.