Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Dodo Skull

Dodo Party

Not sure what I'd do without the good ole Massey workshop. I scavenge for wood scraps on a weekly basis. Besides the few sketches on butcher paper, all of my work has been done on old wooden boards and they are FREE!!! Yahoo! By the end of the semester I'm confident that I could build a small shed out of my paintings...hmmmm...not a bad idea considering my current living situation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

St. Huia Work

I'm so tired of talking about the purpose and message in my art. I'll just say that everything leading up to my life at this moment inspired these paintings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Story Time!

The Lighthouse Keeper's Cat

Once upon a time there was a lighthouse keeper named Lyall that lived on Stephens Island in New Zealand. Lyall had a cat companion named Tibbles. Tibbles was a terrific hunter and soon proudly began bringing the lighthouse keeper lifeless feathered gifts in the form of a song bird. No one had seen these beautiful flightless birds before and men of science excitedly took notice. In 1894 the bird was named Lyall's Wren (or Stephens Island Wren). In that same year of discovery the Lyall's Wren was also found to be utterly and completely extinct. Tibbles singlehandedly wiped out an entire species of bird. The End. (Totally true story).

Walter Buller was one of the very excited folks that managed to get his paws on a few of the specimens of the Lyall's Wren before there were no specimens to be had. Buller was also the one who arranged the importation of sparrows from England. An indigenous bird discovered the same year as it became extinct mixed with a non-native species that thrive to this day. Hmmm...I think I'll make a painting about that. Wait, I already did.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Long-tailed Cuckoo

My first theory and research paper was due this week which led me to the research topic I will be working with for the rest of the semester and hopefully beyond. Here it is, try not to fall asleep...The Lasting Effects of the Discovery and Documentation of Avian Species During the Victorian Era. Ta-dah!

I've been doing endless research on the topic and I'm fascinated with New Zealand born colonists' desire to be accepted by their "homeland" (not unlike colonists' views in the U.S.). Sir Walter Buller (with an endless list of letters at the end of his name) was a lawyer, politician, and most famous for his ornithological discoveries. He is a prime example of this need to belong and thought that collecting titles and promotions was the way to gain status among his London born and breed colleagues. He fought to become a "gentlemen" but was looked down upon because of his "colonial upstart".

Buller loved the honor of receiving a prestigious medal (represented in the painting above). If he wasn't handed the medal he wanted, he petitioned for it and more often times than not received it.

The bird above is a long-tailed cuckoo. Cuckoos are brood parasites. They lay their egg in another species nest (in the long-tailed cuckoos case it's the nest of the whitehead, yellowhead, or brown creeper). After laying the egg, the cuckoo's parental duties are over and the whitehead parents take over.

Just Because.

Hey Ma and Dad...remember when I was obsessed with tadpoles? I decided to make a huge one with fireflies to boot.