Plate 101

(64) Mary-Anne Stuart – Be Attentive to the Birds

About this Artwork
Price: $200 AUD

The supplied page from Newnes’ Pictorial Encyclopaedia Vol 7 showed Giotto’s famous painting, St Francis and the Birds, and immediately spoke to me of my Catholic upbringing, my love for Australian native flora and fauna and concern with environmental issues. St Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and Giotto’s painting depicts a pivotal moment in St Francis’s life where, after a crisis of conscience, he decided to dedicate his life to preaching god’s word – but he first spoke to birds rather than humans and, so the story goes, “the birds showed their joy in a remarkable fashion: they began to stretch their necks, extend their wings, open their beaks and gaze at him attentively*.”

Further research revealed that St Francis believed that animals and humans were equal members of god’s flock and deserving of equal respect. This, along with the concept of the encyclopaedia in disseminating knowledge, tied in neatly with why I paint and draw birds and flowers.

My painting references the tradition of depicting a golden halo around a holy being’s head and I have chosen the larger bird to be the holy creature, with its mouth open singing to all the smaller birds.

* Wintz, J, https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-francis-and-the-birds/ accessed 25 April 2020

About Mary-Anne:

Mary-Anne Stuart is an emerging mixed media artist based in Melbourne, Australia.

Colour and pattern are the driving forces behind her artworks. She believes pattern is integral to life; the very fabric of life, whether human, botanical or animal. Her art works reflect this and her subject matter most frequently references Australian flora and fauna.

“The Australian native plant Banksia has been my obsession and subject for the last few years. I have coined a phrase – Banksia imaginata – to describe the growing body of my artworks that are intuitively created and inspired by the unique structure, colours and patterns found in this species.”

“The process of creating an artwork is one of real joy and absorption of attention for me and I want people who see my works to also realise the joy I feel about the beauty of the natural world. If there is one thing I’m trying to communicate, it’s that.”

“There is a constant overlapping of art, nature, science, music; I see patterns in all of these. Nature seems random and chaotic but there is a plan; it just takes a while to find it. I like to let the materials find their way, to replicate nature.”

Mary-Anne’s work often has its stylistic roots in the art nouveau/arts and crafts movement – the reverence for the sinuous line, and simple hand drawn depictions of nature.

Link to Mary-Anne’s Art Aviso Profile HERE

Mary-Anne was supplied with the following page from Newnes’ Pictorial 
Knowledge Encyclopedia:

Newnes’ Pictorial Encyclopedia
Volume 7
Great painters of all Nations- How they lived and what they achieved.
St Francis and the Birds