You would think that a trip to the tropics just before my first ever solo exhibition would be a wonderful opportunity to have a break from painting and a time to contemplate the upcoming exhibition from afar… but no… with the looming self imposed deadline, I took all my watercolour paints and a selection of handmade papers to Noosa with me. I then commandeered a corner of the communal table, plugged in my laptop and kept on painting some of the Noosa local birds. Luckily many of them are also seen in Mudgee, so it would be in keeping with the rest of the birds in my show, even though I have not specified that they are to be all locals.
We had two very accommodating models, maybe a little bit too accommodating by the end. Mr Percival the pelican who would come round and beg for food by tucking his head in to his body, just his enormous beak extended and his black eyes imploring you for a tasty morsel… he got so confident, he even wandered in to our luxury villa on our last day.
Duckie was our other visitor. He was a very precocious pacific black duck who had obviously been there before, playing other tenants at other times as suckers. He strolled up into the house quacking all the way. It was as if he knew the layout, and knew that the visitors would feed him. And we were. Who can resist such confidence? I was able to take ample photos of these two interlopers, which more than covered the cost of the bread and sausages they ate during their visits.
There was one bird which truly symbolised Noosa for me… and the souvenir shops it seemed… and that was the bush/brush/scrub turkey (I am yet to ascertain which is the correct terminology when it comes to this most abundant of birds). They were everywhere! The expensive shopping district, the man-made island full of luxury houses, the beaches, the bush, all over the place… and there seemed to be lots of miniature versions everywhere as well. Now I know why the house we rented had such solid walls. To stop the turkeys from coming in and making a mockery of the manicured lawn. These birds certainly had a face only a mother could love, and habits to match… but there was something quite adorable about them. They didn’t care about anyone. They didn’t seem to beg. They just strolled around scratching in the leaf litter and creating absolutely enormous mounds of mulch. I kept thinking how useful they would be in Autumn….