Monday, December 06, 2010

No Sleep Till Birdland.

So there’s this thing I do.
I always have paint left over on what ever it is I’m working on at the time.
All sorts of unused pure pigment, coloured premixes or subtle glazed medium that didn’t end up on the drying canvas. It seems such a waste to just scrape it all off into a waste bin and I don’t really like to let them mount up on the palette like some artists do.
It’s my little indulgence at the end of the painting hour if you will. My own little ritual. I use this left over paint on a separate work in progress.
So this was the beginnings of “Birdland”, the latest in a line of  left over meanderings, residual after thoughts whisked off a brush or scalpel in conscious self indulgence at the end of a night.
I’m happy with the result, especially as I watched the piece over several months take on a different look, a different layer of meaning with every layer of paint. 
It’s a mixed media in the true sense of the word. If I happened to be working on a paper collage drawing at the time then on would go some collage. If another night I was using gold leaf on a painting then some of this would also end up on Birdland.
I even resisted the temptation to paint over my pencil lines so the picture is a real combination of different media, an unusual jigsaw that evolved as a result of not only the materials used on its surface, but also the juxtaposition of  Klee-like abstraction and colour with the roughly sketched pencil drawings of birds.
For me it is successful in that it breaks a few rules of what a painting is supposed to look like.
The birds are not new. I have made reference to these particular feathered friends in some of my other work in recent years. They are “New Holland Honeyeaters” and are a very common bird around my neighbourhood here in South Australia. My favourite bird in fact.
Several like to make their homes under the tiled roof of my studio each year and I am always hearing them scurrying about up there or feeding their young. Maybe it’s the protection that roof space provides for raising their young, but I prefer to think it is the music emanating below them that sees them return time and time again.
The title “Birdland” actually has a double meaning.
It is also a reference to the famous jazz club that was established in New York in 1949 and named after the saxophonist Charlie "Yardbird" Parker.
As much as I love many genres of music, I’m a bit of a jazz head and even play a little saxophone myself. I’m no Bird, far from it.. but being able to mix art and music does make me feel like I have some licence to fly.

“All composition left to chance.
Technique a trap you set yourself.
To prize apart your own resemblance,
and free the bird inside your head”.


Ok, feel free to comment below.. gotta fly…


Blogger Jennifer said...

I love them. Is mine a New Holland Honeyeater too.....

9:50 AM  

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