Magpie at Dusk
This piece took me a while to get right. I was a bit precious about it because I really liked the original photo that I had taken.
The photo was taken quite a long time ago. May 2017. I had applied for a stall at the Clunes Booktown Festival to showcase my self published children’s book, Kookaburra Kookaburra, as well as my other work.
On the first morning of the festival I left our little Central Victorian town of Guildford just as the sun was rising over the bushy horizon behind me and drove the 40min journey over the ancient volcanic landscape to the historic goldrush town of Clunes. It was foggy and cold. Mist hung peacfeully in the dips of pastel coloured fields. I stopped many times along the road taking quick photos of looming solitary trees and etherial cloud clad hills. It was a breathtaking drive, it totally made up for the early, cold start.
After an entire crisp autumn day standing on Clunes’ main street, talking with interesting people and finding wonderful books to spend my stall earnings on, I set off back home. The sun was low on the opposite side of the road from 10 hours previous. The golden light illuminating the grass seed heads in some spots and making silhouettes of them in others. I pulled the car over to yet again take a few snaps with my phone. I do love the ‘golden hour’ (or in Australia twilight is so short it’s more like the ‘golden twenty minutes.’ Not quite as catchy though.)
I saw the magpie standing sentry on the fence post and click went the camera on my phone. There's something about the photo that I find calming. It almost looks like another era. And I think I just really like grasses.
So, you see, I became all precious about the image. I wanted to make it into an etching, but I just wasn't sure how to go about it. I made the copper plate then reworked it and reworked it over months. My work is normally quite sparse in the background, and I like it that way, but I knew that wouldn't give the same atmosphere in this piece. In the end I was just about to shelve the whole thing then I just thought I'd do one more little rework and just print it. As I type this now, having another look at the two images side by side I now realise I forgot to include the barbed wire of the fence, but I think i'm ok with that. The focus ends up on the soft lines of the grasses instead. This piece, entitled Magpie At Dusk, is now available in my online shop in a small edition of 18. View it here