Chatter and pandemonium – the collective nouns for budgies and parrots respectively – forms the title of my solo budgie and parrot art exhibition at 142 Gallery in Felixstowe, Suffolk, UK.
This will not be a hushed gallery environment, but a space for discussion and exploration.
Pet Bird Art
My subjects are a little different to most bird artists, being predominantly birds kept as pets. I meet my models at bird events, via social media and in zoos and rescue sanctuaries. A budgie owner myself, I am fascinated with man’s relation to their companion birds, the bonds that we form and the character displayed by our feathered friends.
I take special delight in painting budgies in ways that aim to challenge the sitcom stereotypes besetting the UK’s favourite pet bird. They are not just chirpy mirror-fixated creatures, but highly intelligent and amusing individuals, given the right attention and conditions. My own budgie, Roscoe, plays a very active role in promoting my art.
What’s on the walls?
The Budgerigardener bird art repertoire has expanded to the psittacine (parrot) and cacatuidae (cockatoo) families, and continues to explore the broad range of birds such as cockatiels, conures, lovebirds and parakeets often kept as pets yet infrequent subjects for fine art. There will be large statement pieces, small paintings and everything in between, as well as my full range of Budgerigardener brand cards, prints, cushions and mugs.
My exhibition will also feature some of the tropical birds such as hummingbirds, toucans and kingfishers that I have been fortunate to view on birdwatching trips to Africa Costa Rica and Trinidad.
Closer to home, UK birds and wildlife are also a great source of inspiration. I am always looking to add to my Budgerigardener greeting card range. Original paintings of my popular fox and badger cards will be included in this selling exhibition.
Painting Style and Inspiration
Painting mostly in oils, and occasionally acrylics, my style varies depending on how I feel the character and essence of my subjects can be best portrayed. For some, a detailed approach is appropriate for their plumage , yet capturing their unique attributes will always be more important than rendering every feather. I favour strong and playful compositions to express the joy derived from, and the vibrancy of, my favourite birds, to best reflect the reality of modern pet ownership.
Bird Conservation and Welfare Awareness
When researching my subjects I try to keep abreast of the many issues impacting the survival of birds in the wild. The wild bird trade is a very unscrupulous industry, driven by demand and fuelled by social media. Sadly, a lack of understanding amongst many would-be bird owners of the reality, the time and cost that goes into keeping large birds in particular as pets, impacts greatly upon the welfare of both captive birds and their wild cousins.
I feel duty bound to balance the attraction and beauty of these winged wonders, with a few reality checks… For every engaged and healthy pet parrot seen dancing on Instagram there may be one locked in a garage for making too much noise; shut in a cage for years for making too much mess, or plucking its feathers in loneliness and boredom. This bird art exhibition invites discussion beyond the art on display and will feature and promote local and national organisations such as Tropical Birdland; The Cockatoo Sanctuary and Rescue, and The World Parrot Trust: all great sources of information and inspiration.
Chatter and Pandemonium aims to be both a celebration and an education. Hopefully you will come away from this experience with much to chat about!
Mandy a.k.a. Budgerigardener