10 August 2007

When the painting tells a story


While breezing through the stacks on a trip up to the library today I randomly spotted Johnsgard's monograph on the Quetzals and Trogons
of the world and had to pull it down to quickly leaf through the plates. The artwork used in this book is quite ecclectic running from contemporary to classical. Several of the plates are beautiful, historically signifigant pieces from John Gould's 1858–1875 Monograph of the Trogonidae. The rest are a mix of a handful of contemporary artists, including Dan Lane, John P. O'Neill and Dana Gardner. One plate in particular caught my eye specifically regarding a goal I have been cultivating for my own work of late. Here is Dan Lane's painting of a Bar-tailed Trogon family group. This is an excellent composition communicating a simple story about the lives of these birds at the nest, the male on sentinel, the female visiting the nest to feed a green caterpillar and of course the chick greeting its parent at the nest mouth. This kind of story telling is both visually interesting and intellectually stimulating.