Regent bower bird.

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Regent bower bird.


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Regent bower birds.

Regent bower birds is one Griffin’s best known bird prints. It clearly reveals his Japanese influence through the spatial simplification and use of blank paper, against which the bamboo is silhouetted. As with The jest [cat.15], three colours were employed for this print although, in this case, only two blocks were used (the yellow and orange applied on one block). Griffin has made the most of the colour possibilities, using the yellow, orange, black and white for the birds and superimposing the yellow and black to create another tone for the background. Although the textured ground has been somewhat lost by the application of solid yellow, the use of the restricted yellow over black to indicate the female’s more sober but varied plumage, even down to the black crown, is skill full. Mistakes, however, have been made, with white paint inking out gaps in the bamboo centre left (Ballarat Fine Art Gallery and National Gallery of Victoria impressions). On the impression held in the NGV, fine brushstrokes have been added to define feathers on the upper bird's wings. The vertical texture visible in the yellow ink could have been caused by pressure from the printing blankets. Although this work appears to have little depth, on closer inspection a fourth bird is partially visible in the centre background. Perhaps realising the awkwardness of this inclusion, Griffin did not attempt this arrangement in future prints.

© Alisa Bunbury, 1998.