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Acrylic on Cradled Board, 2015
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This piece is based on the fourth installment in the “Daybreaker” series, all of which were black and white drawings of cockerels, except for the cockscomb and wattles which were done in colored pencil. The effect of this contrast was very dramatic, but this particular fellow was so colorful that he demanded a full color treatment as well. Anyone who knows me personally knows that one of my pet peeves is “spastic polychromatism” (my coinage), which is basically when an artist uses every color he can think of in the same painting to such ludicrous and scattershot effect that no appreciable color scheme emerges and in fact the expressive character of every color, and thus the painting, suffers as a result. It is the coloristic equivalent of too many cooks in the kitchen spoiling the sauce. “Chauntecleer” veers closer to this faux pas than I have ever gone before, but of course avoids it because the color palette here, while loud and varied, is soberly considered. The spastic polychromatist, on the other hand, blithely uses this surplus of color for its own sake, rather than to effectively further the concept or feeling behind the work, which is how color should be used. In this case, I wanted to showcase the bird’s already splendid colors against a fancifully condensed expression of dawn; the luminous green grass, Technicolor sky, and glowing half circle of sun are the fine art expression of a Looney Tunes cartoon sunrise.|
The title, “Chauntecleer” was suggested to me by a friend, who reminded me that it is the name of Chaucer’s jaunty and arrogant rooster in The Canterbury Tales (The Nun’s Priest’s Tale to be exact). It seemed an appropriate title, since I encountered this fellow during my first visit to England (technically during a memorable and unplanned side trip to a poultry farm in Wales) and it was, in fact, his dashing appearance and proud bearing that inspired the piece. For those who fancy poultry like I do, you know this specimen to be a Welsummer, a Dutch breed originating in the small town of Welsum in the eastern Netherlands.
Welcome to the online home for artwork by Andrew Denman, a California –based, internationally recognized, award-winning contemporary wildlife artist. Denman primarily paints wildlife and animal subjects in a unique, hallmark style combining hyper-realism with stylization and abstraction. His dynamic and original acrylic paintings can be found in museum collections on two continents and in numerous private collections in the USA and abroad. His clear voice, unique vision, and commitment to constant artistic experimentation have positioned him on the forefront of an artistic vanguard of the best contemporary wildlife and animal painters working today.
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