At last! Some of the previously ‘trapped in camera’ pictures. This still life has been coming together for years. My kids always say ‘You don’t need to buy that, you haven’t painted what you’ve already got’ (teenagers eh?!) But over the years I’ve learnt that you can’t put a value on the inspiration that an object, card, wrapping paper or plant can bring to kickstarting a painting. And if it then gets sold then it can be thought of as expenses and still enjoyed!

And so it was with this bird-cage. I already had a brand new white one since Christmas 2009, complete with vintage felt birds, with the idea to paint it but it never had that je ne sais quoi.

Then it all came together when I spotted this rusty old birdcage outside a shop in the Cotswold’s and once I’d navigated the discussion with the teenager I was shopping with, I bought it.

The Poole Pottery was a local junk shop find, my husband has had those old books forever,the wrapping is a favourite Brie Harrison that I keep using as a background and the felt bird was the perfect colour combination.

If I’d been able to write about this while I was in the process of working on it, then I surely would have complained about just how hard it was to get the birdcage in the correct shape and perspective. But as I couldn’t I can spare you the details of how pencil work became lost under a colour wash and then having to ‘guess’ in dark green paint like some kamikaze painter. Oops I think I just told you anyway…

© Claire Leggett Birdcage May 2011

 I’ve entered it into a special competition that I hope to be able to talk about one day (if I don’t fall on my face – otherwise I’ll keep it to myself!) So I’m hoping that the timing is perfect for now.

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