Jonathan Sainsbury at the Scottish Game Fair

'Bumbarrels' - long-tailed tits - oil on nine panels - 32 inches square

'Bumbarrels' - long-tailed tits - oil on nine panels - 32 inches square

'Bumbarrels' was a nineteenth century country word for long-tail tits, used by poet John Clare to refer to these birds.  I named the work in homage to him.   They come to my studio, tumbling over each other at the bird-feeders, confusing other birds larger than them by their non-stop action and getting time at the food as a consequence.   They are one of my favourite sights.

The picture has been a focal point at the Scottish Game Fair, drawing dozens of people on to the stand.

My idea in painting this picture in nine separate panels was to echo the way the birds form a whole, while remaining separate from each other.  You can only watch one at a time, so your eyes focus on one bird, then switch to another and you build up the whole 'picture' out of these separate interactions.

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