The idea for this one came to me when the forsythia was blooming earlier this year. I thought it would be striking to have a black bird on a stem of bright yellow forsythia. By the time I got around to doing the drawing, the early spring flowers were long gone and I didn't feel the urge to put them in, but the black bird stayed.
The box is 12" X 16". The composition is based on the proportions of the golden spiral (as was the animal series I did last year). The branch just above the bird's head is the arc of the longest part of the spiral, then the spiral continues into the other sections on the right, ending in the most colorful section just right and under center.
The drawing of the bird started with charcoal and white acrylic paint, then watercolor, then acrylic, pastel and colored pencil. It is covered with acrylic gel medium. I like the smears and the "weathered" texture. The snake at the top, in colored pencil, is there, frankly, because the golden spiral proportions didn't quite fit in the frame, so I added the snake in the space left over.
The "wall" between the large section and the two smaller sections is wood. There is a carved edge, and on black bird side I've used metal letter stamps to write out a little story, made up by looking for nouns at random in the dictionary and inserting them into a simple, 3-sentence story structure. The panel was painted black then sanded to reveal the carved edge texture and the stamped words.
The top section here is raw canvas with charcoal and watercolor to emphasize its section of the spiral. A "window", made of watercolor and acrylic-painted paper reveals the canvas behind it. The sections are divided by black mat board with colored pencil designs, finished with acrylic medium. The "ceiling" has stars incised into the Bristol board then revealed by coloring over it with blue colored pencil. The striped wall to the right is pencil also.
The black bird's "package" is made from rice paper painted with ink, over a small painted dowel and a painted stick with thread connecting them. A roll of paper on the front is tied with thread.
This last, tightest part if the spiral is mainly colored pencil. There are alternating painted nails and sticks laid out and following the outside arc. The little insect pod in the front is preserved with acrylic medium. It was a careful job to apply it to the papery surface with a tiny brush! It sits on Thai banana paper.
The outside frame is carved, painted and sanded wood.
That's it! That's all!