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Mockingbird by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "Patterns of Speech"
18 x 18"
Acrylic on Cradled Board


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The Northern Mockingbird is a familiar sight throughout most of the US and Mexico. Though they are common to woodlands and rural areas, most people are familiar with them as frequent visitors to the suburban garden where their amazing vocal abilities earn them equal parts admiration and annoyance. I must admit that the closest I ever came to even considering doing harm to a bird was when a male Mockingbird chose the wisteria vine directly outside my bedroom window as its preferred perch from which to erupt with its deafeningly loud mating song every morning (beginning at about four am and proceeding well into daylight hours) for several weeks one Spring. Viewed and heard from a proper distance, this display is at least impressive, and sometimes beautiful or even haunting. The male finds the highest perch he can and sings a long string of every sound he knows, some original to him, others imitations of everything from other birdsí songs to car alarms, slamming doors, snatches of music, barking dogs, and so on. When heís finished, the entire litany is repeated, sometimes for hours on end. As he sings, he will occasionally fling himself skyward in a brief, spastic summersault, during which he flashes his white wing patches to impress any females attending to his performance.

I saw this fellow in a nearby park where I had initially gone intending to observe burrowing owls. The owls didnít cooperate that afternoon, but this Mockingbird did. Though the Mockingbird is far from the showiest or most colorful bird I know, they are not lacking in theatrics or personality. They do, after all, receive quite a significant mention in one of the most widely read and well-loved of American Novels, Harper Leeís To Kill a Mockingbird. This fellow was singing his heart out, and I have captured him here during a pause in his vocalizations, just as he is about to hurtle himself into some mid-air acrobatics. The background pattern, into which the tree on which he perches dissolves, is intended to suggest the complexity of his mating song. More broadly, the weave of branch, bud, and stem, and the circuit-like maze into which it expands, suggests the intricate poetry of the natural world itself. Though there is no mistaking the sound of a Mockingbird to anyone who has ever heard one, even once, each birdís song is an entirely unique reflection of its life experiences. This piece is my visual exploration of those rare and wonderful patterns of speech.

How to buy, general information
Welcome to the online home for artwork by Andrew Denman, a California Ėbased, 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.
All artwork and text featured on this page and throughout this website is protected by international copyright laws. Use of these images or text is prohibited without the express written permission of Andrew Denman.