Les Animaux (The Animals) is a series of gouache paintings on Arches watercolour paper. These works explore the effects of climate change upon animals who depend on extreme climates of hot or cold for survival. Polar bears are well-documented as being some of the first animals to be adversely affected by melting polar caps. Watching footage of these wondrous beings struggling to swim the ever-widening gaps between areas of solid ice is heart-wrenching.
Referencing storybook imagery and mythology, these paintings reflect the ultimate quest: that of nothing less than finding simple sustenance provided by an eco-system in balance, e.g: drinking water for giraffes in the desert; edible wild grasses for Prairie Elk; snow in the wintertime for Musk Oxen.
Creating these paintings became, for me, an act of prayer for the survival of our many animal friends. It is one thing for Homo Sapiens to make the Earth uninhabitable for our own species; and quite another to bring other species down with us.
Baby Bear Dreaming
Bluebird of Happiness
Snow de Beests
The other day in my front garden, a tiny little fluffy Rainbow Lorikeet feather floated down out of the morning sunshine and landed upon my foot. It was one of those soft, soft downy feathers from a bird's underbelly... the part that fluffs and sways in the tiniest of breezes.
As I picked the feather up and took a closer look at all the delicate silk-like strands, I got to marvelling at how this one little feather was an integral part of the beauty and delight that is the world of birds. How lucky we are to have them grace our skies with their songs and airborne dances!
But are we treasuring them enough? Will these beautiful and sensitive creatures be able to survive the kinds of environmental catastrophes that result from human industry?
Lost Forest II
Lost Forest II (detail)
Lost Forest III
Strawberry Fields Forever
Heliotrope Fresh Air Hunt
Do What You Love
Fairywrenland (top of diptych)
Fairywrenland (bottom of diptych)
In The Realm of Sleep
Family Tree (detail)
Canary in a Coalmine
It’s such a blessing awakening to beautiful birdsong in the morning and later watching birds float, soar, swoop, sing and streak colour through the skies above.
It is with a heavy heart that I first learned how many bird now headline threatened species and extinction lists. The gossamer threads which currently enable birds to survive in increasingly human-modified habitat may not be able to withstand for too long the scarcity of traditional food sources and the prevalence of feral cats, amongst other threats.
As wild spaces continue to shrink, a great number of birds have become the proverbial canary in a coal mine – their decline a kind of warning bell and possible precursor to the greater collapse of Earth’s life support systems.
As well as the pleasure and joy birds and birdsong give us, they of course play a very important role in the broader scheme of things. For example, spreading seeds, controlling insect populations and pollinating flowers.
These collages of birds in all their gorgeous, fluffy, fluttery featheriness were created in the hope of inspiring folks to help protect the remaining wild spaces in nature where birds (and other animals and plants) can thrive. It would be a tragedy for the world to lose any more of its gorgeous flying jewels.
Good Luck All Around
Fluff, Feather and Flutter
Where the Bee Sucks
Bush Turkey Queen
Portrait of Guido Valdez: Homage to Louise Weaver I
Portrait of Guido Valdez: Homage to Louise Weaver II
Change in the Weather
Drawn in white ink on painted wooden panels, these works are stream-of-consciousness doodles. Whatever happened to come out of my hand is what appeared. Sometimes romantic, sometimes political, mostly comical... kind of like life, really.
See if you can spot the...
• Josephine Baker look-a-like • Pecan stall at the farmers market • Wooden work horses mating • Whip made of gum leaves • Yoga sequence • Nudies at the waterfall • Ghostly cephalopods
Boy in a Bubble
Boy in a Bubble (detail)
Through the Keyhole
Moose Music Under the Magic Moon
Welcome to a magical dreamland where moose boogie down to space funk on distant planets, polar bears dream of intimacy and escape, hipster giraffes trip on cactus juice, and whales navigate deep sea trajectories in response to sonar invitations.
These paintings are reminiscent of children’s picture books in which delighted animals adventure freely in paradisiacal wildernesses. Told through veils of humour and innocent naïvety, unwritten narratives follow a double thread: allegorical tales of love, longing and loss are interwoven with deep concern for the quality of life and survival of animals in the present world.
Due to over-development, environmental pollution and climate change, many wild animals now live under threat of extinction. Just as sadly, many factory-farmed animals are forced to exist in unbearably inhumane circumstances.
Our cohabitants on Earth, animals hold a special place in the hearts and minds of many people, This is evidenced both by the many beloved animal characters that feature in children’s stories, as well as the way in which we adore and pamper our family pets. These works seeks to raise questions about how we can reconcile the real affection we feel for animals with the tragic plight that we humans – largely in control of the animal kingdom – allow to befall our furred, feathered and finned friends.