Just erotic. Nothing kinky.

the bird book

It started with a book that I bought to read on the flight from Johannesburg to Capetown: The Search for The Rarest Bird In The World by Vernon R.L. Head, a South African bird-lover. It was a strange book, surprisingly dreamy with a lot of beautiful language, images shimmering like a tree shot with sunlight and a thousand cherry-sized birds. An emotional book, with just touches of natural science. I read that book 8, maybe 9 times…it was not very mentally taxing, just a pleasant ramble through forests and savannahs, chasing birds with one’s thoughts. I wanted to keep it, but didn’t want to read it a 10th time…felt strangely compelled to interact with it, somehow.

I started doodling and painting in its pages…beginning with the catalog of eggs used for the endpaper design, the large white spaces around chapter titles, then moving into the text…
the bird book
the bird book
the bird book
the bird book
the bird bookAt some point this feather thing took over, and I set aside the altered book project to explore feathers in my sketchbooks. Colours, brush marks, how to make a feather using a single stroke of the brush…
the bird book
the bird book

Moved from sketchbooks to watercolour paper, with a mapping pen to draw fine lines, and a lick of gouache to sometimes give a highlight.
the bird book
the bird book

The final version is at the top of this post…a series of feathers using yellow and sepia paint, on rough watercolor paper. A present for my Colombian friend Liz.

“Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It’s the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.”     ― Terry Pratchett, Eric

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20 thoughts on “Just erotic. Nothing kinky.

        1. He was very much interested in birds and their habitat and the boxes he created were very involved studies of those. He also practiced book altering, so I’d say it would be very interesting for you.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. That Pratchett quotation made me chuckle out loud. Your feather paintings are glorious and I am sure your friend is completely and utterly delighted with the gift of the yellow feather painting. I also like the way you are engaging with a favourite book by turning it into a dialogue between the text and your artwork. That is very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to have such a hard time repurposing books as I’ve always been so reverential with the books I possess. However, I am now able to reframe it as giving books a new lease of life. Better to be painted in than shredded and pulped.

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