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Where the Dragon Flies

As mythological creatures, dragons fly in the imagination, inhabiting the dreams of writers, artists, readers and viewers alike. My paintings occupy an analogous realm, operating in a space reminiscent of daydreams or areas of quietude within the mind. I endeavour to bring together both landscape and still life painting in ways not normally encountered. For me, it is exciting to employ a Chagall-like freedom to place anything anywhere and find a way to make sense of it all. In an increasingly busy and confusing world, I feel it is important to find solace for the soul, whether it is in art, music or literature, and these works are my contribution.

The landscapes in my paintings are conceived to instil a beguiling atmosphere, pushing beyond their assumed role as a backdrop. These views of the land, such as in Moon Dance with its large body of reflective water, imply the stillness of twilight which is integral to the whole and provides a tranquil space to retreat into. In this painting I wanted, in terms of composition, to place a central object that could revel in the landscape’s sheer vastness. Therefore, a small, yet heroic bird was chosen to rise up in symbolic celebration of finding oneself in such a place or state of mind. In Waiting for the Echo there is a palpable quietude, a moment frozen in anticipation of a response from the ether.

Birds in particular, and occasionally animals, rouse the scene by actively engaging with the still life, but not in a way one would expect. Rather than pecking at fruit, the birds in Under The Wings of a Dream are shown to be either bringing or removing jewels. Thus, as these birds act in an unusual manner, we are reminded of the painting’s state of reverie. The most recent works are imbued with an other-worldliness as the birds’ plumage takes on the patterns and textures of porcelain, fabric or even tattoos. In these parallel worlds, such as in Theatre of Forbidden Dreams, the creatures for me celebrate a freedom to express themselves beyond the frontier of reality. They speak to me of secret desires by means of a mysterious language, revealing fragments of an inner and subconscious realm. Perhaps too, the birds symbolise the often transient nature of inspiration and the ideas which come to roost in the mind. The stillness of these scenes encourage these conventionally timid creatures to be at ease, and maybe, if one is lucky enough, land on one’s out-stretched hand. In a land where the dragon flies, anything is possible as we tread a path on the margins of dreams and allow our imaginations to take to the air.

CAROLYNDA MACDONALD (2018)

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