Saturday, August 21, 2010

About the birds

I think this is the first painting I made where there are birds on people's heads. It's from about 4 years ago, and is a kind of a family portrait of myself and the twins who were 3 or 4 back then. The birds are ones that we see in the parks or beaches in Darwin - from left to right - plover, wedge tailed eagle and ibis. (Neither the birds or the people are very realistic, but that's a whole other discussion.)
A while ago someone on flickr asked me if there was a story about the bird in this picture,
this was my reply. 'I do a lot of paintings of women and birds, I think the birds can express something about the woman's character, also that it can explore the tension between freedom and duty. Also I like the humour of the image if you take it literally. I don't have an exact story for the paintings and I hope the viewer will bring their own ideas to it too.'

I'm completely submerged in the book 'The Time Traveler's Wife' (about 3/4 of the way through and dreading a tragic ending.) in it there is a scene in an art gallery where a ten year old girl is talking about the artworks 'bird boxes' of Joseph Cornell. She says... 'He made the boxes because he was lonely. He didn't have anyone to love, and he made the boxes so he could love them, and so people would know that he existed, and because birds are free and the boxes are hiding places for the birds so they will feel safe, and he wanted to be free and be safe. The boxes are for him so he can be a bird.'

Joseph Cornell is a real artist although the book is fiction, you can see a slide show of his works here. It's funny that he was mentioned by an artist in the last issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine though it didn't make much of an impression until I read that scene above and some kind of little alarm bells went off!!

Here are a couple more bird quotes;

Hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die
life is a broken winged bird
that cannot fly.
Langston Hughes

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.” Emily Dickinson

Hope your weekend is going well, I'm trying to have a quiet one - though the kids have other ideas!!


  1. nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

  2. thanks for the link to Cornell, i do love a bit of assemblage AND cloth, paper scissors!

  3. I'm glad I followed the link from flickr to your blog Kate! Will definitely be visiting again :)

    Love these paintings and enjoyed reading your thoughts about them. I loved The Time Traveller's Wife and was just thinking recently that I would like to read it again.

    My favourite bird quote, from William Wharton's novel Birdy: "There are bird tracks and nothing in the sky; something lived, left, and left something."

  4. Hi Rett, so glad you found my blog, I'd completely forgotten about birdy - I think I read it when I was in my late teens or early 20s, and loved it, now I'll have to dig out a copy and re-read!!