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by Tumbleweed Smith

Lonnie Edwards of Salado is an artist.

"Actually I've experienced practically every form of art there is," he says, "paintings, photography, sculpture, pottery, and I do decorative metal pieces."

He has chickens in a variety of colors. They run wild around his place. He doesn't feed them.

"It's healthier that way. Their natural diet of worms and bugs is better than chicken feed. That's the reason I got those chickens in the first place, to improve my diet."

Lonnie combines his artistic ability and his chickens to create colorful paintings using a different kind of brush.

"I have a little cage that I built. I stretch some canvas and put primer on it, lay the canvas in the cage and squirt some paint on it, then I'll throw in three or four chickens and start playing some music. They walk all over that canvas and produce art."

He has canvases of chicken art in several sizes.

"I can do a canvas three feet by seven feet if I wanted to. My cage is that big."

Lonnie started his unique project three years ago when a newspaper reporter was doing an interview with him about his artistic ironwork.

"While the photographer was there, my chickens walked through the shop. He asked me where I got all the colorful chickens. I told him I raised those chickens because I've always wanted to do chicken paintings. I said I probably never would do them and if any would get done, the chickens would have to do them. Well, he put that in the newspaper just like I said it."

A man who owns a string of restaurants read the article and ordered ten paintings to hang in his eating establishments. So Lonnie got busy and learned how to create chicken paintings. Soon he was producing them on a regular basis. So far he has sold forty-five of them. He says that helps pay for the chickens. His chicken art has brought more attention to him than anything else he's done in the art field.

"Once I was running low on chickens so I borrowed three from my neighbor and put them in with my hens and that was a mistake. They fought. I really came out with some wild paintings that time. A lot of times they look like a Jackson Pollock but these looked like a Matisse."

A video of his chickens creating the caged art is titled CHICK FLICK. A book of the chicken art is out now titled THE CLAW CAN DRAW. A reception was held to introduce it.

"We served deviled eggs."

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