“Be bush-shrikey” (A little less important. Don’t go off and research all the things that bush shrikes do.)
So after painting something with far too much meaning in it, I decided to paint something with no meaning whatsoever and I quite like the results. I think i’ll be painting with this style a lot more from now on. It’s bright and happy and there’s not too much to read into. Perhaps that’s a good thing right now…
White Fronted Bee Eaters
I like to keep my paintings happy and full of love, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way! This is the first of the paintings I did in Africa. It started out as a nice painting of some dueting Black Collared Barbets- but then my heart got in the way (darn it!). Fortunately for me, no one else will be able to see the meaning in this one, and I kind of like the end result. It also documents a whole phase of my life perfectly- easier than writing in any journal…
Countershading is the most kudutastic form of camouflage seen in nature. I especially enjoy the countershading of aquatic animals.
When aquatic things are countershaded, they’re darker on their dorsal side than they are on their ventral side, which doesn’t sound too exciting.
BUT, it means that if you’re hoping to catch and eat something that benefits from countershading, you could struggle to find it. If it’s below you, its dark upper parts will help it to blend in with the dark, dark sea floor. And if it’s above you, you’ll see its light underside… or will you? Because it’ll totally blend in to the sky above! Love.
Penguins are countershaded. Frogs eggs are often laid in water, so they are countershaded too. So are sharks and fish. When I told one of my friends about countershading, she went to check that the fish in her tank were countershaded. She confirmed that they were, so it’s definitely true.
It works for people too. I think I remember something on the news a few weeks ago about a company designing a countershaded wetsuit for surfers, so the sharks won’t get them. Evolving new ways to not be eaten. Life is beautiful.
When I paint, I look to nature for inspiration. For the last few months, Kibo the Brown Hooded Kingfisher has slowly established himself as an absolute LEGEND, by spending much of his day perched in front of the webcam at Addo Elephant Park. I have no doubt that he knows what he’s doing. Such a poser. He owns it and he knows it.
Last year I went to visit my dad, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia. The National Gallery there was full of the most incredible art (in the aboriginal section at least). I was utterly inspired. Having struggled for weeks to find a wedding present for my dad, I decided i’d paint one. I can’t paint. But I found an art form I could use without knowing how to paint. My ‘art’ was born. I painted a possom that we’d had in our attic the week before. I put lots of meaning and imagery into it and just kept making little dots. It’s all about the dots…