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ACRYLIC. 40"x40". AUGUST 2017.


Phoenix, painted over the course of two summers, is my first large acrylic. The goal of this painting was to convey the vitality of the bird emerging from the water, a dramatic moment frozen forever in exquisite detail.


Rather than abstracting, I sought to test my abilities by rendering the kingfisher as realistically as possible, layering dimensions of surreality on the existing magic of the bird.

I started work on Phoenix (which at that time was under the working title of Heledir, or literally “kingfisher” in Tolkien’s Sindarin language) last summer — it was the first time anyone had trusted me with a canvas as big as this, and I spent hours thinking about what exactly I would paint. In the end, I settled for this: a kingfisher soaring out of water, the kingfisher being my father’s favourite bird, and this being intended as a present for his 50th birthday.

As it turned out, I was not finished in time for his 50th. But I did make his 51st!

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