2009 saw a completion of a major collection of paintings and drawings based on my responses to the ornithology specimens at the SA Museum. I was able to access the collections, to sketch and photograph them and to make art works from them.
My initial reaction of shock of seeing so many dead birds was quickly replaced by an overwhelming astonishment at their beauty and complexity. I have been driven to try to make art from these specimens and to give them a new life by making them the subject of my art.
Conceptually both the paintings and drawings are much the same, having worked on them concurrently in my studio from sketches made at the museum. The drawings are intended as finished art works ready for framing and the paintings are stretched canvas or linen on frames ready for hanging.
Perhaps the drawings continue to gather strength from the years of printmaking practices in their graphic immediacy, while the paintings contain the inherent subtleties of colour.
Many of these works were exhibited in the retrospective exhibition, ‘Rita Hall. Museum Studies 1969-2009’.