One show flies out and the next one lands at Gallery Above and Beyond. September 28th saw the opening of ‘Birds of a Feather’.
I’m delighted to have 6 framed works included in this group exhibition, which showcases a diverse flock of creations, by artists working in a variety of media.
Percy, 2018, dry pastel on paper, 51x41cm framed (artwork 31x25cm). I use pastel with great pleasure. It is like painting with one’s fingers, and is an ancient media, once used in pre-historic cave paintings. Birds are a bit prehistoric too, I think. Their feet and legs fascinate me, the various combinations of extreme length and very short, and distribution of toes in different formats, suited to where and how they live.
This macaw was well known to me although we never became friends, it (we never found out what sex it was and always referred to ‘him’). Although he was in a cage at night, during the day, he was frequently allowed to wander the garden and would sometimes escape to a nearby tree, announcing his success to the world with RAUCOUS cries. If he didn’t return on his own, my husband, who had no fear of heights, and whose bird he was, would climb the tree and retrieve him. Percy would happily descend clutching onto his shoulder.
Heading this story is Ibis 2, an original woodcut print with collage, measuring 41x27cm framed (artwork 29×13.5cm).
The Pond (tsb), original woodcut print
23x47cm framed (artwork 5.5×29.5cm).
A woodcut on a fine handmade Japanese paper. Making these wood cut prints is a long process, from working out the idea, to cutting the different boards, trialling colour combinations, and then hand printing. At this stage when the inks have dried, I decide what to do next…. I like the half-hidden element in this piece. The viewer has to do some work too!
Ibises fascinate me. It’s something to do with the ancient Egyptians and their mythology. They considered the (Egyptian) ibis to be sacred and worshipped it in the form of the god Thoth. In fact, they loved this ibis so much, that they mummified millions of them. We know this as their wrapped bodies have been discovered in tombs.
Jungle Jive, oil pastel on paper, 54×48.5cm framed (artwork 37.5x31cm). A pastel work, this time oil pastels, and the birds came creeping out of the jungle of my imagination.
This work started out as a simple woodcut and then, I got a bit carried away with the whole idea, and collaged some sacred lotuses. There are 3 iterations of the ibis. The other 2, each different, are in the browser at the show, and have also been added to my new woodcut gallery.
On A Mission, pen and ink on Indian paper, 20×20.5cm framed (artwork 10x10cm). This piece, and others that are in the browser, are completely spontaneous, using skills and techniques developed over many years. I prepare the paper and often, whilst it is still damp, I make a mark… and then another… and then another… and more… often holding my breath… until I stop. It doesn’t always lead to success!
The work that I submitted was fun to do. Drawing, painting, modelling , mosaic, even embroidery of birds seems to come naturally to me.
Starry Night (crow), hand worked original woodcut print on Japanese paper, 20×20.5cm framed (9x10cm). This woodcut uses the same methods as The Pond, printed on hand made Japanese paper. The result did not entirely please me so I got to work with a pen… until it did.
Some require much familiarity with the subject and others just appear as I start to make marks. Those are completely spontaneous. Sui Generis.
The Field Marshall, 2023, pen and ink on Japanese paper, 16x32cm (artwork 6x21cm)
Alongside my framed pieces at the gallery, I have a browser full of avian art featuring various bird species, real and imaginary. Don’t forget to delve into these wondrous bargains if you visit.
Exotic Bird (tl/ol), original woodcut print
25x20cm (artwork 19×14.5cm)
‘Birds of a Feather’ runs until November 4th in Linton, Cambridgeshire.
Love Birds (Pigeons), pastel on paper
50x50cm (artwork 40×48.5cm)