The Start of a New Series

I’ve always been a huge fan of art series. A body of work that is cohesive, one that tells a multidimensional story. Filled with pieces that are incredible on a stand-alone basis, yet are part of a living, breathing entity when together.

But I struggle like crazy to create my own. I like to blame it on (and really, this is a large component of it) my short attention span, but I think the deeper core is that I simply have never really taken the time to hash it out. I haven’t invested enough time into it to really make it something.
But I want that to change. As I grow older (though I am still very green, which has honestly been a struggle for dealing with the “Art World”), I find myself wanting more from my artwork, something more emotional. As much as I like painting straight-up realism, its boring to me. Not just because its basically a recreation of a photo, or several, but because there isn’t anything creative about it. Sure, it takes skill, but there is no soul. The desire for emotive artwork is slowly starting to help me carve out who I want to be as an artist (or at least a portion of my artist’s self, more on this later, perhaps). While painting nature and wildlife is my passion, I want to transform otherwise natural beings into something unnatural, something that is just a little bit odd.

I’m still very much working on this progression.

But that brings me to my initial quest for writing this blog entry. An art series.

Technically I have successfully completed two “art series”, despite them being of the same subject matter (Africa’s Big Five), and the series being relatively short, I feel somewhat of an accomplishment. I’d like to dive into that world again, and attempt to create a cohesive body of work that not only displays my skill set, but also shows what is truly going on inside my head as far as art ideas go.

My topic of choice will be the ever-popular “Seven Deadly Sins”.
I’ve always been highly intrigued by this concept, and believe that we all fall victim to at least one of the Sins (I know which I am!). So many other artists have created incredibly inspiring series wrapped around this concept, so I knew that I wanted to do something slightly different. So Seven Deadly Sins, hmm…what subject can I use to display these…aha! Birds! Of course!

Its no secret that I love painting birds. I knew that this project would be a blend of several of my passions. I adore painting birds, they are lovely biological specimens that have a huge range in differences across genera and species. Each of the Sins provides a sort of guideline theme, but I want to do something a little more unique, something a little more off the beaten path. While still sticking with the general theme of the Sins, I want to play around with the concept a little more. I’ve chosen birds that have bits of their physiology and behavior that are reflected in each of the Sins. Colours and emotions are going to be key in this series as well, as well as common and more cryptic symbolism.

In general, I’m quite excited to start this series. I feel as if this will give me a big boost in both viewers and experience.

So onto the birds.

So to start, the list of the sins is as follows:
Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Pride, Envy, Sloth and Lust.

In this blog entry I’m going to keep my though process for each of these to a bare minimum, they will each be explained in full detail in following posts.
Here are the corresponding birds.

Gluttony will be represented by the Pelican. While these birds normally comprise their diet of fish, there are also records that show them eating other organisms, such as pigeons, even in the presence of a large abundance of their usual food type. This seemed suitable to gluttony, and they have the signature large mouth that seems to fit perfectly into the theme.

Greed will be represented by a bird called a Drongos. These African birds are excellent at vocal mimicry and they use their skills to get other birds to flee from their food captures by mimicking predatory calls of other organisms. This seemed suitable because while able to capture their own food, they will commonly steal from others using methods of trickery.

Wrath will be represented by a bird called the Cassowary. These odd birds have made their way into the news as of lately and have built up a reputation for being killers. They are tall, strong birds with talons that are basically daggers, and despite being frugivores (fruit-eaters), they are known to attack larger organisms, such as humans, with little provocation. And their attack of choice? Flying karate-style kick leading with a deadly talon. Ouch.

Pride will be represented by none other than the peacock. Normally I would want to steer away from stereotypes but this one is just too rich to ignore (besides, I have a natural affection for peacocks due to my family owning their own little flock). Little needs to be said about this one right now.

Envy will be represented by vultures, though a specific species has not yet been chosen. I like the idea that vultures are attracted to death and are therefore somewhat jealous of the living. This one still needs some serious fleshing out (I am open to ideas!).

Sloth will be represented by the Common Cuckoo or a Cowbird, both of which exhibit brood parasitism. Brood parasitism is a behavior that is characterized by an adult female laying an egg in the nest of another bird, even that of another species, and abandoning it. The alien egg is then hatched and raised alongside the other eggs from the new broodmother. Typically in an effort for survival, the newly hatched alien chick will push the hatchlings of the adoptive species out of the nest so they can be the only recipient of the nourishment provided by the adoptive parents. So essentially the Cuckoo mother is too lazy to raise its own young (nature is lazy, known fact).

And last is Lust, which will be represented by a Bird of Paradise, most likely the King of Saxony. These birds will pour every ounce of energy into growing their elaborate sets of plumage and energetic mating dances, all in an effort to mate. These males typically have very short lifespans due to starvation, predation and parasitism, which could normally be avoided should they allocate their energy to areas other than “mate”.

So here we have it, my little intro to my series. I’m planning on painting these with acrylics on square canvases, probably around the range of 16″ to 20″.

I’ll be updating as I go along, so keep your eyes open!
Thanks for reading!

– D

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