A Bigger Fish…

For years, I wanted to paint a Kingfisher… I thought its vivid, striking colours would make for a wonderful addition to The Carnival of Wonders

Trouble was, we didn’t have a story to go with it. I would sketch & sketch, yet got nowhere…

It obviously wasn’t the right time.

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While some of that might be a teensy bit exaggerated, the desire to paint one certainly wasn’t… 

Anyhow, as I was waiting for a more ambitious painting to dry (‘Enlightenment’, actually) I decided to break the deadlock once-and-for-all and began to sketch out a little canvas featuring the bird. It occurred to me that, if I just began something, the rest would arrive ‘as if by magic’. By this point, my Kingfisher sketches had grown more elaborate and had the bird towing a smaller ‘floating fish’ as if it were a balloon; in this case, a Stickleback. So that would be my starting point. 

Inspiration eventually arrived, when Gary suggested the inclusion of a much smaller bird (I went for a BlueTit), towing a HUGE fish. Perfect. Now I had my story and it’s one familiar to anglers the world over: ‘No matter how impressive the one you’ve caught might be, there’s ALWAYS a bigger fish!’ Little wonder that the Kingfisher happens to look grumpy now..!

I love how this one came together. From the blue-green armour of the Stickleback, to the multi-coloured scales on the giant fish (which I think might be a Carp), there’s much to see. The Kingfisher himself, for example. I LOVE the headpiece, with its little pearl decoration: does it remind you of Aladdin’s lamp? At one time, this painting might’ve been called ‘The Pearl Fisher’, thanks to that detail. I also love his coppery-bronze chest armour and how that blends with his natural orange plumage for perfect disguise. Keen followers of my work, will also appreciate the Carp’s lamp, for it echoes the design used in my successful work ‘Night Mail’.

I suppose the unassuming star of the piece has to be the Blue Tit, though. There he is, landing on a distant twig, out for a little fly-around with his pet Carp and all the while, utterly oblivious to the impact he’s having on the imperious Kingfisher. Happens all the time, doesn’t it?

Just when you think life can’t get any sweeter… Along comes a humble Blue Tit and his pet fish, to remind you that you’re not as clever as you thought you were… 

That there’s ‘Always a Bigger Fish!’

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