Reflections started as very different artworks using different mediums. It was only much later that I brought them together thematically.


Egrets were two oils on canvas. Hippos and Monitor Lizards started as felt-tipped and pen & ink sketches. Drongos and Elephants were paintings using dry-brush watercolour. Angry Birds are composites of a graphite sketch and a blotted-off dry-brush watercolour. And Parrot Reflection began life as a photograph.


I recreated them digitally as the artwork you see now and, though they still retain their original textures and so seem very different stylistically, I see them linked by a common theme. 


Drongos & Angry Birds

The theme came to me while I was watching a common flameback (Dinopium javanesewoodpecker one day in the garden.


He was a regular visitor and every day would visit his reflection in one of the condo windows. It was usually a lively visit involving a lot of posturing, flapping, tapping the glass and strutting around on the window panes.


Parrot Reflection

Parrot Reflection. Materials - digital photograph, Adobe Photoshop.
Parrot Reflection. Materials - digital photograph, Adobe Photoshop.

It got me thinking of how much we take for granted our precious knowledge of self. And how much we sometimes abuse it. Animals seem so innocent without it.


I wondered how that first man-ape must have felt the first time he looked into a pool of water and realised it wasn't another man-ape staring back at him, but his own reflection. And I wondered how this feeling would have been affected by his mate arriving to sit next to him and his reflection being joined by hers - the first "wefie", if you like. 


I returned to some of my animal paintings, sketches and photographs. What if I could help them get to their moment of self-discovery? Would they embrace it or turn away in fear?


Hippos & Monitor Lizards

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