Dead Starling Chick (Detail)
Oil on gessoed board
There are starlings nesting above the front door to my studio, and the other day I found three dead chicks that had either fallen out or been chucked out by the mother - I'm not sure. They had the powerful attribute of being both grotesque and beautiful at the same time, and I felt compelled to paint them. My initial intention was a composition with all three of the birds in a kind of pinwheel arrangement. However, I found myself struggling with the painting of just one bird and it became extremely unpleasant trying to battle off a plague of flies. Raid's "fast acting" fly spray is not true to label! I only managed to get one bird painted and not particularly satisfactorily at that. I felt like abandoning the painting and the next day when I came into the studio and lifted the protective covering I had placed over them I was hit by the nauseating stench of decay. That decided it and the chicks recieved a decent burial.
Perhaps I should resort to photographs...
Or stick to painting "nice" arrangments of fresh fruit.
Dead Starling Chick