I am thinking about my next works and would like to try and dye some Gang-gang Cockatoos. They are the “faunal emblem” of Canberra and feature also in the ACT Parks and Conservation Service logo.

They are such gorgeous birds to look at; the male has this fantastic red hairdo while the female is completely grey with specks of orangey-red. Whilst pretty they are also famed for their “unique” call. The ACT government website speaks fondly of its faunal emblem, stating “Their call is a distinctive sound resembling the sound of a squeaking gate.” Others describe it as a squeaky cork coming out of a bottle.

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo
Here’s a little snippit I found in an 1887 London publication called “Parrots in Captivity”. This is an excerpt by the snooty sounding F.G. Dutton about his lacklustre encounter with his first real Gang-gang.

“The most rasping and aggravating of all Cockatoo cries..” Ah-hah-hah! I can just see him choking on his cup of tea as he heard its cry for the first time. I think its a charming little voice that they have and SO much less aggravating than the flocks of screaming Sulfur-crested Cockatoos.

Detail of painting by Shimomura Kanzan. “Ancient Pine Trees and White Wisterias” 1921
In terms of scale, I am trying to make bigger works but its always so daunting on how to go about filling such a large space. I saw some of Shimomura Kanzan’s paintings last week at the library and like his use of framing. He tends to cut off the tops and bottom of the frame and focus on a central horizontal plane. I’d love to do a long horizontal piece with a slither of gum tree showing, full of birds. My next challenge…