This is a close up of the first sparrow in the Beard Man painting. I have been trying to photograph sparrows for months but had little luck getting a clear picture. Recently while eating breakfast in a Melbourne cafe I had the perfect opportunity to take photos close up of the sparrows who were also having breakfast on the tables around me. City birds have less fear of humans I suppose, so it was easy to take some quick snaps. Enough detail, especially in the eyes to complete sketches and then spent a while on this first painted edition. There will be several more sparrows added to the beard hedge.
An expression of the art of combating anxiety, fleeing the trap of a tight chest and shallow breath. Originally I had drawn a rib cage in the background but I felt it was too obvious. I wanted the bird to be pictured truly free. I used non toxic paint stripper and a scraper to carve out the image and set the bird to the fore, the background dropping away to expose raw wood and rough paint remains. The painting is about freedom from suffering, not the act of suffering itself.
The heart beats strong and calm when you keep your eyes on the skies ❤
The Small Works Art Prize 2017 is on at the Brunswick Street Gallery in Fitzroy, Melbourne until 2 June. I have three paintings in the show. Studies of a robin in flight and a self portrait. A small series in acrylic on recycled wood panels. No frames, clean natural edges and ready to hang. You can view the series in my online mini gallery. Brunswick St Gallery have two albums of photographs from opening night on their faceboook page.
I have been bound close to home of late. Work and life commitments not allowing any venturing afar. Close knit. Delivery of the three paintings for the show was handled by my wonderful daughter and possibly collection also if I don’t pry open a window of opportunity to set into Melbourne myself in the next few weeks.
The enjoyment of being “home bound” is subtle yet encompassing. Caring for post op patient and sick child, staying on track with routine and chores is a necessary and welcome change in the weather, one which I am cherishing every moment of.
(This piece is not in the group show, it’s in my home studio on the shelf with a dozen other small works I have, some finished some not quite. I have many pieces on the go, shuffling around helps to shift perspective, grabbing at new ideas as time passes more slowly. While I’m not at work I can focus on those glinting words and capture something running deeper.)
Brunswick St Gallery’s Small Works 2017 exhibition