An original artwork by Brendon Marczan, Pale-Headed Rosella is made using gouache paint and ink pencil on Fabriano 300gsm watercolour paper.
230mm Wide x 230mm High
Summer sounds different in Europe. There isn’t a gumtree filled with Cockatoos screeching outside my bathroom window, or the cackling of a kookaburra in the morning. The names sound ridiculous this far north. “A cockatoo? You have a bird called a cockatoo? A galah? Doesn’t that mean stupid on Home and Away”?
Of all the strange birds of my youth, I can only remember with any real certainty what a galah looks like. My aunt had one that visited her daily for meals.
She named him Crawford and for much of my youth, he was part of the family. She referred to him for an opinion during a sun-shaded BBQ conversation. “What do you think about Billy Joel, Crawford”?, and the bird would walk towards her to receive its treat as my brother rolled his eyes. All the other birds are so familiar as a collection of sounds and shades, but I couldn’t recreate them with the same physical certainty. I arrive at their memory in the most unexpected ways.
When I open my mind to recreate an image of Australian birds, I see the feathers that swirl in ever decreasing circles in the wake of a lightning ground attack, or the silhouette of a defining beak perched above a balcony rail. So much colour with shifting definition, darting amongst tree branches. Fire-engine red rosella’s flash into my mind but only as a dagger of pigment in my mind’s eye.
Some shapes are easier to make out than others. I was compelled to capture these memories, to bring them back into the world, albeit a hemisphere and a half-decade away. The gouache represents the essence of the bird as I remember it, often a blur blending into the background, and the ink is just me, trying to piece together the rest of a creature I briefly coexisted with.