My Geese, approximately 1996, 3x4ft, oil on Masonite board
The inspiration for this painting was my own garden and these geese who used to guard the front portion of the farm where I live. The geese were the best guards and often made loud noises at passers-by. At that time I only had four of them. When taking a walk at night I was the only one at whom they would not make their very shrill cries. They would stand there quietly keeping one eye on me but relaxed.
These geese were painted as they were on a cold night when the water in the pond steamed into the nocturnal air and looked magical. The contrast of the white pearly geese with the dark surroundings makes the animals stand out and emphasises their pose as guards. In the painting, the steam is frozen in time but in reality it slowly moved past the geese as they stood, unmoving in the night. The shadows resulted in the soft pastel sheen which can be seen in the painting.
At the time my use of colours in paintings was still subdued. It was based on careful observation of real nature and the moment.
The surface of the painting is very flat. Fine brushstrokes give the feeling of fairy tale lightness due to the thin layers of paint that were applied. This painting took me one month of hard work to complete. It took me many years to realise that the lifespan of geese can be more than 25 years. By now these particular geese are no more, but their offspring still enjoy these surroundings.