Back in April 2020 just a month after the World Health Organisation declared the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic, I was having a ‘comments’ conversation with fellow blogger, Garrulous Gwendoline ‘The Reluctant Retiree’, about her photographs of pelicans.
And, as is the way in the convivial world of blogging, Gwen generously checked her photo library and emailed me some beautiful pelican pictures. I knew straight away I would use them in a scarf, but I had no idea it would be over two years before these magnificent birds would finally make an appearance in a design.
Sometimes my process of painting a scarf is a free-flowing affair and the whole piece takes shape organically. However, on this occasion I did have a layout planned. Firstly, I selected two specific pelicans for my inspiration. One I called Ms Smug and the other Ms Cheeky and after sketching them I made templates of both.
A Ms Smug was placed at each corner of a 90 x 90 cm scarf then a Ms Cheeky was popped in-between on the ‘border’ branch. Each of the Ms Smug pelicans in the corners was to be a different colour. In a predictable combination I decided they would be red, yellow, blue and green.
However, as you can see I don’t do solid blocks of primary colour and instead I worked up my usual very patterned take on the chosen colour scheme. It turned out that the green Ms Smug grew blue patches and the blue Ms Smug developed a mixed plumage with feathers of lilac and magenta vying for attention.
Of course, with a very colourful piece as this you still need areas of contrast.
The dark and mid blues background were an instinctive and obvious choice as the original pelicans in Gwen’s photographs were shot against a vibrant, Australian blue sky. The blue also worked with the black central area, but what about the border?
I think you might have already anticipated, yes, more black, this time to delineate the whole piece. From start to finish the scarf took some time to create, but it was a pleasure to keep returning to my amusing source material.
And, if you were wondering about ‘Hathor Peli’, the scarf’s name, well, I’ve also been working with some Ancient Egyptian bird designs too. Hathor is the Ancient Egyptian sky goddess and I thought ‘Hathor’ sounded like a good name for scarves featuring birds.
14 thoughts on “Painting Hathor Peli”
An interesting account of how your scarves come into being, loved the colours.
Thank you. Sometimes I feel like embarking on a long and fiddly piece of work. The colours are a bonus for me.
That we were prevented, because avian flu had decimated their numbers, from seeing the pelicans of Lake Prespa close up means that exploring these images and your interesting journey to your final creation is a special treat.
Ah, oh dear poor pelicans. This avian flu has been a nasty outbreak, it’s even reached UK hasn’t it? Did you receive a letter from the UK Chief Veterinary Officer in February about reporting dead birds? We did even in the middle of a town.
No, we didn’t. But we do know that dead bird sightings have occurred locally.
I guess we got the letter as quite a few large poultry businesses in East Anglia.
This is just super! I am smiling.
Oh thank you. It certainly was an uplifting work for me as I painted it. I think pelicans are just amazing and such funny birds.
I remember when I first read about pelicans, I thought it was so practical how they managed things, and I love the look of them. I don’t think I have ever seen one in person.
I’ve never seen them in the wild only at a bird sanctuary. They’ve not been living here naturally since the medieval times due to hunting and the loss of habitat with the draining of swamps out of existence. However, the forecast for sea level rises with climate change means the maintenance of sea defences will be so expensive that some areas of UK have already decided to let the sea flow inland again. This will in turn return areas to marshland that haven’t seen the sea in hundreds of years, so maybe the pelicans might come back.
You know, there is something kind of fitting about the idea that the pelicans’ home will be restored though I wish it were not happening as it is, and of course people will be displaced and etc. Still, taking just this one aspect, the idea of pelicans coming home somehow captures me.
Yes, I so agree with your sentiments all round on the subject of pelicans and people.
Gosh. I’d forgotten about those photos. The sky WAS blue wasn’t it? Not like our recent rain sodden downpours. I love, love, love where you’ve taken the inspiration!
Well, I hope I did your special birds justice. My daughter really loved them and she’s been angling for a heavy, heavy discount from me, but far too many hours in this one for that! Yes, I’ve seen on the news that NSW has been having serious flooding again. It looked truly frightening in places. Meanwhile, in Europe there’s been a record-breaking heatwave and we’ve just been warned here in UK we might reach a temperature for the hottest day on record in England over the weekend.