Saturday, 25 May 2013


I recently read this quote, from artist Dwight William Tryon:

"The less imitation, the more suggestion, and hence, more poetry".

I love this idea.  It could almost be MY artist's statement.  What I really would like to achieve with my work.  More suggestion, and hence more poetry.

I have long felt this way, but have always found it hard to break away from the "tyranny" of the subject.  I do occasionally achieve it...but it is certainly not easy.  I have to allow myself to "freewheel" when painting, trusting that knowledge gained over many years will assert itself and the image will have a strength based not on the accuracy of the subject-matter, but on my choices for suggestion together with the elements of design and composition which help to give the image a little magic.  A little poetry.  Words, on their own, are not particularly special - they are just individual words, as in the pages of a dictionary.    But the poet will take ordinary words and weave them together in such a way that they stimulate imagination, and create visual images in the mind.  The painter, I believe, needs to do this with marks, marks which, in themselves, are not special, but can be put together in a special way.

Degas said:  A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people. 

and he said:

A picture is an artificial work, outside nature. It calls for as much cunning as the commission of a crime.

Here is another of my little bird images.  Notice how the angles of the bird are echoed by the angles of the branch. This was not in the original reference material, I created it deliberately.  (perhaps even cunningly.....).   Notice how the foliage really is just marks which suggest leaves.  YOU, the viewer,  turns those marks into leaves.   

"Quizzical Sparrow" SOLD

The woodland scene at the top of this post also falls into the "suggestion" category.  It is not a real scene.  The colours are not real, they were chosen to suggest a cool spring day, with crisp, clear light (Spring here in the UK this May is very, very chilly this year).

If I can occasionally achieve my goal of "a little more poetry" - then I feel I am on the right road.


There has been lots of interest in my little bird pictures.  If you would like to see photos of the paintings, with a view to owning one for yourself, just contact me by email to jackiesdesk at, for availability, prices and postage costs.

As well as the original paintings, I have a variety of greetings cards of my birds, and can send you examples of the available images.  I am selling 6 for the price of 5.  The cost will depend on your location.
Here are four of the eight I have printed:


  1. Beautifully said Jackie!!!
    And the quote by Tryon goes on my wall :)
    thanks for this post.

  2. Your bird pictures are absolutely beautiful. I love the idea of mystery in the picture, some abstraction with the real (and there is no real - Magritte showed us that) and have been trying to figure out how to do more of it myself.

    Jackie - I have just got to find the time to sit down and read you more, virtual cover to virtual cover. I just read your "Stop Dithering and Get On With it" post and was totally engrossed! It is obvious you have much to share, and since I have much to learn, we are a couple! Thank you for the great info.


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