Tuesday, 5 June 2012

How to Paint a Portrait of a Bird

First paint a cage
with an open door
then paint
something nice
something simple
something beautiful
something useful
for the bird

Then place the canvas against a tree
in a garden
in a wood
or in a forest
hide behind the tree
staying very still...

Sometimes the bird comes quickly
but he may just as well take long years
before making up his mind

But don't get discouraged
wait years if necessary
the quickness or slowness of the bird's coming
has nothing to do
with the success of the painting

When the bird comes
if he comes
observe the most profound silence
wait until the bird enters the cage
and when he has entered
softly close the door with a brush
paint out all the bars one by one
taking care not to touch any of the bird's feathers

Next paint in the tree
choosing its most beautiful branch
for the bird
also paint in the green foliage and the freshness
of the wind
the sun dust
and the sounds of the insects in the summer heat
and then wait until the bird decides to sing

If the bird does not sing
this is a bad sign
a sign that the painting is bad
but if he sings it is a good sign
a sign that you can sign it

In that case you ever so gently pull out
one of the bird's feathers
and you write your name in the corner of the painting