Willy Wagtail and its family in the nest and indigenous story in a pendant
The Family Affair – Willy Wagtails in a bedroom at the art gallery

A Family Affair – Willy Wagtail and the pendant


Full Description

Willy Wagtail and the Pendant – An indigenous expression Willy Wagtail artisan pendant

Interested buyers, don’t hesitate to ask at this link for a “First in first serve” acquisition of the framed original or 1 of 25 limited edition acrylic enhanced reproductions.








The Willy Wagtails nested, rent-free, in my sister’s backyard at Jurien Bay, West Australia.

I was transfixed with my discovery and many metaphoric family images came to mind from the wordless wonder of Willy Wagtail’s nest and home building.

My words will not do justice to the comprehension I was experiencing.

The realist painting is a heartfelt reflection of that moment, converging with my naive attempts (a white fella’s interpretation), at the beauty of Indigenous Australian dot painting storytelling.

I imagined how the Aboriginals might tell the same story in dots as I would in hyper-photo realism.

  • Metaphor 1 in the family – A sentinel in the bloodline

I am talking of the family of mankind from the metaphor in Willy Wagtail. 

The family (nest/home/nurture) is the most important element in the human experience. A family nurtures and prepares offspring for life.

What parents feed/teach and model in their bloodline will improve or degrade life in our limited time on earth. 

For example, you may teach your family to be bitter, unforgiving, greedy, selfish, prejudiced, pride-filled, and free thieves, with sexual perversions. Or for a better version, you should teach kindness, mercy, wisdom, forgiveness, and productive enterprise as selfless contributors for the good of mankind. 

God-loving children are the best. Why? because they will discern evil, avoid it, and stand against injustice knowing that evil, without constraint, will ruin what is good about mankind. 

Feed your children the right thought processes, the right food for good maintenance of bodies and minds, right attitudes toward the creator of all families, and the next generation will know good from evil. 

Within the family, sharing your words around a dinner table filled with wisdom, love, and peace, or bitterness, hatred, and angry fear directs the siblings to carry the color you demonstrated. 

This painting is embedded with good sentiments that shed light in dark places where 2 cultures of love, understanding, joy, peace, and wisdom are cross-pollinated into the rich tapestry of life.

This is how God created it to be … rather than hatred and prejudice. 

  • Metaphor 2 in the family – A culture in the bloodline

Story to come in 2022.

The Willy Wagtail

Willy Wagtails (Willy) is much like an oversized, noisier, black-and-white version of their closely related New Zealand Fantails. Like the fantail, the Willy wags its tail from side to side, flushing out insects for food.

  • Identification

It has a prominent white eyebrow which varies in size and conspicuousness depending on the bird’s emotional state, sex, or status.

Like fantails, it has prominent whiskers that protect the bird’s eyes from flying insects. The whiskers also provide information about potential prey locations.

Because Willie’s spend much of their time feeding on the ground, their legs are longer and stronger than other fantails.

  • Voice

The song, often heard at night, is variously transcribed as a sweet pretty creature or pretty little creature. There are also rattling and territorial chittering calls.

  • Distribution and habitat

Willy’s are widespread in Australia.

Some parts of the population are migratory whilst others are sedentary but Willy’s are mainly birds of open habitats.

They have successfully adapted to human-altered environments such as gardens, parks, and golf courses.

Their favored habitats are, water-courses, wetlands, and other areas close to water.

In early 1920, Willie Wagtails were introduced for insect control in Hawaii. The venture was unsuccessful, and the population died out by late 1930.

  • Behavior and ecology

Fearless and aggressive, the Willie will take on kookaburras, ravens, magpies, and even birds as large as the wedge-tailed eagle to protect its territory.

Humans, domestic cats and dogs, and even snake-necked tortoises and tiger snakes can also expect to feel the wrath of the agitated willie wagtail.

They use livestock both as mobile perches from which to conduct aerial forays and as plows disturbing food as the cattle or sheep walk along. In winter they may congregate in flocks, but most are seen in pairs or singly.

Willy’s line their cup nests with a fibrous material, spider webs, and occasionally with animal hair such as cat, dog, goat, and alpaca.

  • Food

Willy’s feed almost exclusively on insect invertebrates but have been recorded eating seeds, bread and biscuit crumbs, and goldfish.

They are mainly active and restless, feeders on the ground but will catch insects in flight, from foliage, tree trunks, and branches.

Like New Zealand fantails, the Willy conducts food forays by flitting out and back from a perch. The wagging tail and wing movements flush out the prey.

Aboriginal naming

With so many diverse Australian Aboriginal languages, and no linguistic continuity across the continent, there has been little enthusiasm to adopt Aboriginal names as the standard English name for many bird species (exceptions to this include kookaburra, budgerigar, brolga, and galah).

Instead, early explorers likened many birds seen in new territories to familiar birds from their homeland. So, small red-breasted birds in Australia became Robins although unrelated to the European Robin that spawned the comparison.

In late 1970, an attempt to provide nomenclatural consistency throughout the world was suggested by some members of the ornithological community. The proposed renaming, of Willy Wagtail as Willy Fantail never caught on, so wagtail remains.

With a clean slate, the Willy Wagtail could be called djidi-djidi (pronounced chitty-chitty), or the true wagtails could be called bobtails!

Realism meets Dreamtime

My chosen discipline is photorealism and metaphor bordering surrealism with a twist of humor.

I love the vibrant and simple color rendering in Aboriginal art and chose to combine both mediums to see if I could build bridges of understanding between our common ancestry and storytelling.

One God, one mankind, different coats of paint, with cultural diversity under one heaven.

My use of the artisans’ pendant

It’s hard to understand the gift of our creative imagination producing a story from anything we see. In this case, I used a pendant to herald an imagined indigenous narrative.

Beyond culture, skin color, religion, and politics, the heart of life where creative expression has pure motives you will discover the metaphoric story in the pendant.

An inquisitive heart in a family meeting. A nest, a bedroom, food around a table, the younger seeking wisdom and council around a jewel of great price in an elders’ knowledge.

One of heaven’s gifts and revelations adds purpose, perpetuity, and belonging to any culture speaking from the heart.

If the knowledge discovered is true, the revelations bring with them the peace of God, beyond understanding, adding to its cultural significance.

Mysteries are revealed through the creative enterprise to bring contentment to man’s experience.

I choose the pendant to represent the family story because pendants hang over the hearts of the owner.

Passed on from generation to generation the family story is perpetuated by gathering around the elder’s wisdom which creates a new family inheritance.

Embedded in the wise council (if it’s wise) are the manufacturer’s promises of freedom and peace. Discovering that jewel adds new dimensions of wonder and glory.

The U in the Aboriginal language symbolizes a person. The smaller U is a child. The dotted lines are journey tracks from experience to experience or the family group to family group bloodline. 

The indigenous influence art disclaimer

My attempt to paint, study and replicate indigenous art is at its best, nieve. In the best way, I know there is no way I would knowingly *disrespect a people group I dearly love and these are my best attempts to date.

I study, at my own pace and these studies unmask a deeper honor toward these dear marginalized people. That sentiment is embedded in my borrowing from their creative intelligence to partner with my western culture photorealism painting.

As an Australian citizen, I am honored indigenous peoples give me pleasure in their interpretive storytelling and dot painting.

Paralleled alongside the rhythmic sounds of their music, didgeridoos, knocking sticks, dance, and song makers these gifted people are part of our inheritance.

I have a lot to discover as I embed what I learn crossing the bridge of understanding from my culture into indigenous culture.

My Godly inheritance and * disclaimer

Part of my Godly inheritance inspires me to look forward to experiencing Aboriginal offerings in heaven. There are no fears, hatred, prejudice, or offenses there to darken what God created to be good in all cultures, including what we call indigenous culture.

God will separate the good from the dark in all cultures and we will see the wonder of culture without superstition, fear, and prejudice.

* Some have claimed I have no place using Aboriginal influences in my art because it is disrespectful to the sacredness of their culture and yet I consider my art just as sacred because I have as much freedom as my indigenous family, to explore all wonders in the world of art with freedom of expression.

I choose to honor all art disciplines incorporating whatever inspires me at the time of production while giving glory to God for our diversity.

It is my opinion we should be celebrating one another’s storytelling and diversity seeking truthfully to love one another.

Racial arrogance and one-upmanship help no one – no matter what color our skin! 



ORIGINAL FOR SALE   * Bid or tender for the original framed (508mm x 508mm x 50mm) artwork. All offers are considered around $12,000 
Painted with professional oils, on gesso-primed long-life linen canvas with gloss dammar protection.
* Originals and Limited Edition reproductions are supplied with Provenance, coded Authentication of Sale Certificate, and maintenance/care information.

The full size 920 x 1220 (same as original) on stretch mounted archival canvas price is $2250 inc GST
A master acrylic artist will digitally recreate the original painting and use hand-painted brushstrokes to replicate the original painting.

Unframed sizes | 960 x short side – $960|  650 x short side – $650
Printed on long-life archival canvas. 8 color giclee printed on fine art archival paper or archival linen canvas and acrylic enhanced. Protected with 2 coats of UV archival spray.
* Stretch-mounted reproductions will incur added charges for mounting and freight.

Unframed sizes | 594 x short side – $120 |  420 x short side – $92
* Posters printed on fine art papers and treated with two coats of UV archival protection spray.


Some images from “A family affair” are planned to be exhibited on Women’s Fashions through Vida and multiple product lines at Fine Art America

  • Includes insurance and package/handling fees.
  • The Original and Limited Edition reproductions ship with the Provenance coded Authentication of the Sale Certificate and maintenance information.
  • Poster art prints ship in insured tubes.


Translate »