This weekend my focus is on painting a commission. I am concentrating on this whilst dealing with an ear worm, an expression which does make me squirm somewhat. I have been listening to the line about not messing with Major Tom from Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes track for several days now. The painting is going well despite the interference! To my glee there is in fact a true story to this commission about a dog arriving at a castle one night at Christmas.
Below is cropped section of a painting which I did some years ago when I was putting together a children’s picture book idea. I dug it out of my folder as like my current commission it is a night time scene. This image was for a story about a jealous kingfisher who steals a peacock’s tail feathers whilst the peacock is sleeping.
I love storytelling whilst painting, whether it be a fully formed story or presenting narrative for possibilities that the imagination can cast from before or after the moment in the painting itself. Here is a visual excerpt from the Tiny Tale Of Kingfisher.
Just a few tiny details to add and my Barn Owl will be completed.
This is another image for my series of Lost Things (along with the Lost Pearl and the Golden Bell) and a continuing theme of gold leaf moons. The captivating Barn Owl. Both feared and venerated throughout history and a variety of cultures the owl has been associated with both evil and wisdom. Thankfully superstitions such as its association with witches have died away and we can count ourselves lucky if we manage to enjoy a glimpse of this fascinating night time hunter.
Read more about my story for this image here.
To compliment my recent Elephant in Red and Gold here is the Ibis. The Nile was central to Ancient Egyptian life and religion. The Egyptians of old believed that souls of the dead were transported across the Nile to reach the afterlife in the presence of Thoth the god of knowledge, who was represented as the Ibis bird.
The Ibis is of ancient evolutionary origin, its fossil records going back some 60 million years. Carvings of the Ibis can be found on many Egyptian monuments; they were also mummified and buried in the temples with pharaohs.
Red and Gold are a favourite combination of mine, as are the colours Prussian Blue, Ultramarine and Alizarin Crimson. Red, Gold and Blue shine out from traditional Egyptian wall paintings, paintings from the renaissance, and religious paintings. Many colours are featured in the decorating of elephants for festivals yet I have been drawn to the deep blues, reds and gold so often used, and now echoing the colours of the recent Christmas period now nearly over.
My next Travelling Animal is an elephant. A revisitation to research I did for a picture of Harvey the Aardvark on his adventures with decorated elephants in the desert.
Embellished with gold leaf, and decorated with a hint of African textile patterns this elephant carries a crane feather.
Elephants are symbols of wisdom and strength and revered by African cultures. The crane (bird) is also known for its longevity, its lifespan similar to the African elephant some 40-60 years. The crane is also associated with wisdom and loyalty, and folklore has extended its lifespan to 1000 years.
I have combined these two animal symbols to encompass wisdom and power with loyalty. This has enabled me to show the gentle nature of the elephant delicately carrying the feather of a crane.
We have yet to find out where he is going…….