Song of the Birds


These above details are from a larger painting “Song of the Birds” (below).

At first glance this picture purports to be a real scene with water in the foreground, trees in the middle, and strange looking hills at the top. However, the initial composition was based on completely abstract shapes which later morphed into birds and fish as the picture progressed. As with Jacob’s Ladder, you need to look at this close up. All the creatures, whether sea cucumbers, catfish or strutting birds are made up of stripes, blotches or colours completely unlike reality. This creates the possibility of making them much more expressive as their limbs and bodies can be extended and exaggerated for maximum impact.

There are five different ways that water is depicted, each one giving birth to its own forms of life. So the foaming sea at the bottom right has jellyfish and sea monsters. The water on the left has its own Bo Jangles character punting through a low bridge. And there are some odd looking sticks of wood which carry rather than wear their leaves as they parade in front of a fast flowing stream.

As for the birds, the central figure with a white beak and webbed feet sings her heart out while two eyes flutter over her. A strange half man half bird figure throws his eggs down to a man perched in a tree while nightmarish animals in red striped rush into view. As always you must make up your own mind as to what it all means.