Gallinules | oil on panel | 30×20
The common gallinule, formerly known as the common moorhen, could be seen as less attractive than the brightly coloured purple gallinule. In this painting, I invite the viewer to take a closer look. The subtle shifts in this gallinule’s feathers of grey to black to brown give the body a softness that isn’t as apparent in the purple gallinule. Against this softness, the shocking orange-red and yellow in their beaks and feet are very dramatic. These small points of bright colour draw the eye, without overpowering the understated beauty of their surroundings.
Reflections at the edge of a body of water are very familiar to most of us. Sometimes, though, if the wind blows or a bird moves the reeds, the ripples that form bend the light in truly unexpected ways. In this composition, the addition of tiny circles within the greater swirl of colour—formed as the gallinules dipped their beaks into the water to eat—makes the resulting image dizzying to behold. This painting is not for the faint of heart; it challenges the viewer to ponder the extraordinary chaos to be found in nature, and to find the beauty within the maze.