Oil on canvas – 51 x 75 cm
This picture was painted in tandem with ‘One for Sorrow’ which was featured in my previous blog. In this painting the old plane tree is the main subject and I decided to paint it as twilight is setting in. It is painted onto a brown ground as opposed to the blue/grey ground used in ‘One for Sorrow’. In both pictures I had wondered whether or this subject was interesting enough to make a picture. However as I wanted to do some observational painting I decided to go ahead. Both pictures use the space outside of the picture plane, in this painting both of the magpies are floating out of the foreground. These birds are quite common where I live and they are more interesting to look at than birds such as pigeons which I had tried to use in earlier versions.
In some cultures magpie’s are birds of ill omen. There is an old nursery rhyme – One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a funeral, and four for birth, five for heaven, six for hell, seven for the devil, his own self.
A more recent version goes – One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret, never to be told, eight for a wish, nine for a kiss, ten for a bird, you must not miss.
Detailed paintings such as this picture and its companion piece ‘One for Sorrow’ look good reproduced larger than life. I can’t help thinking that a blown up image of this painting would go well in the offices of Hackney Council.