Girl with Goldfinch
This picture, together with nine others, was sold in my exhibition at the Berwick Watchtower (editorial amendment on February 27th- no it wasn’t – I looked through the pictures that had been returned, and lo and behold, Girl with Goldfinch, who is now going into another exhibition. This is a morning of amendments, as roughs of the trails I have been doing were sent out, and changes to be made have been winging back this morning. BUT, oh, how important to check these things at a stage where information and drawings can still be changed. The lettering is all hand-drawn, so difficult to make amendments once the ink and watercolour are in place. Very sad that there are no Birds of Prey at Beal any more). I will need to go through my list of paintings and discover which ones were actually sold, but this will have to wait for today (editorial amendment 27/02/13 he-he-he). Now that I am making a blog, I have kept records of my paintings, which I never used to do. This painting was done on a background which I had worked over to make a texture that was fairly random, an effect I like. The girl has an outline round her, which is unusual for me. I tried to make her fit against the edges of the canvas. At first she had a broken string in her hands, but I didn’t like the colour of this so I painted it over with neocolour blue crayon, then when I put a varnish on it just made a turqoise blur, which I like much better than the string. The goldfinch is very small.
When we were young we lived just across the road from a naturalist called Garth Christian, who was an early poineer of ecological thinking. In his house birds used to fly in through the windows and eat from one’s hand, and cling on to the curtains. His garden went down to a small wood. There was a bird table on the lawn, where nuthatches fed. We were there one day, looking out of the window, and Garth said: “If you keep watching, you’ll see something interesting.” A few moments later a hoopoe flew into the garden. So rare. And so beautiful.
Bee-eaters have very rarely nested in England, they were nesting years ago in a sandycliff-face in Sussex and Garth took my grandfather and myself to see them. The nesting site was in general kept secret. I still remember looking at those minute specks of colour thrugh the binocolars. Many years later I bought a book by Garth Christian, called “A Place for Animals”, which I found in Oxfam in Bewick upon Tweed. When I got home and opened it I saw that it was dedicated to my grandfather.