|'Falling through the air quarrellling' from a mid-sixteenth century book by Kao Sung|
Recently I was talking to Sarah from the Russell Gallery in London, as I am in the process of sending over some paintings for the Chelsea Art Fair in April. We were talking about one of my bird paintings “Birds Quarrelling” and why that title. The inspiration for this painting came from what I thought was a very popular Chinese woodcut of the same title but when I tried to source the image from the internet I found nothing. After searching through my book shelves I came across the book Heaven and Earth (woodcuts from a Ming Encyclopedia) selected by John Goodall, Lund Humphries 1979, and there it was a little woodcut of two birds “Falling through the air quarrelling”. So that was where the idea had originated from, though I couldn’t quite remember until now, and the full title is so good on reflection that I wish I had given my version the same one. Maybe next time I feel inspired to paint quarrelling birds I will.
|"Birds Quarrelling' 54x46cm oil on board|
I painted the above painting this time last year, for the Rococo exhibition that has just been and gone. Over the last few months my garden has been full of blackbirds, quarrelling and jostling for position on the lawn, in the hedgerows and for prime position in the stone trough that serves for a great bird bath. So it seemed right to pit them against a cerulean blue sky, with blossom from a lovely flowering virburnum fragans which I have growing close by the house and which smells divinely of jasmine; the stage is set the players cast.