Goldfinch with Mullein
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19” x 24”, acrylic, 1970
“The landscape of late summer is full of a rich variety of colours and textures that provides a feast for the eye of the artist. The decomposition of autumn and winter has begun to set in, and the resulting visual images are perhaps more complex than they are at any other time of the year. In the same way that the face of an old person shows the experience of many years, the wrinkled leaves of late summer show the product of a series of events in processes of biology, physics and chemistry.
“In this painting, I like the way the old leaves have a textured, sculptural quality that relates to the eroded embankment. The soft, undulating forms of the grassy hillside are a backdrop to the sentinel - like ramrods of mature mullein stocks. Although many consider them just weeds, to me the mullein plants have the nobility of some ancient aristocrat. The goldfinch is not an afterthought. I put him in the painting partly to give scale, and partly because he is usually found in this type of habitat. I left the bottom unfinished because I enjoyed the sketchy quality of my brush strokes, and I liked the artistic element provided by the white negative spaces.”