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

For 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.








I discovered the Willy Wagtail nest in my sister’s backyard at Jurien Bay, West Australia. The thrill immediately transfixed many family dynamic images and wordless wonder at Willy Wagtail’s skills in nest/home building.

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

The painting is a heartfelt reflection of that moment, converging with my naive attempts (a white fella’s interpretation), at the beauty of Indigenous Australian storytelling within dot painting. I imagined how the Aboriginals might tell the same in their art language.

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

I am talking here of the family of mankind from the metaphor in the 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 their limited time on earth. 

For example, you may teach your family to be bitter, unforgiving, greedy, selfish, prejudiced, pride-filled, and thieves, with sexual perversions. Or for a better version of family you could teach to be kind, merciful, wise, forgiving, productive, 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 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, the right attitude toward the creator of all families, and the next generation will know good from evil to fill the earth with greater wonder and experiences. 

Within the family, sharing the spoken word around a dinner table filled with wisdom, love, and peace, directs the siblings to carry the colors of joy as an antidote to destructive darkness in life that destroys what God made to be good. 

This painting is embedded with these sentiments to inspire the beauty of a DNA that sheds light in dark places where 2 cultures may shed love, understanding, joy, and peace. 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 2021.

The Willy Wagtail

Willy Wagtails are much like an oversized, noisier, black-and-white version of their closely related New Zealand Fantails. Like the fantail, the Willy Wagtail 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 other fantails, it has prominent whiskers that protect the bird’s eyes from flying insects. The whiskers also provide information about potential prey locations. As Willie Wagtails 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

Willie Wagtails are widespread in Australia. Some parts of the population are migratory whilst others are sedentary. Willie Wagtail is mainly a bird of open habitats and has adapted very successfully 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 the early 1920s, Willie Wagtails were introduced to Hawaii for insect control, but the venture was unsuccessful, and the population had died out by the late 1930s.

  • Behavior and ecology

Fearless and aggressive, the willie wagtail 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 Wagtails line their cup nests with a fibrous material, spider webs, and occasionally with animal hair such as cat, dog, goat, and alpaca.

  • Food

Willy Wagtails feed almost exclusively on insect invertebrates but have been recorded eating seeds, bread and biscuit crumbs, and goldfish. They are active and restless, feeders, mainly taking place on the ground but will catch insects in flight, from foliage, tree trunks, and branches.

Like New Zealand fantails, the Willy Wagtail 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 the late 1970s, an attempt to provide nomenclatural consistency throughout the world was suggested by some members of the ornithological community. The proposed renaming, 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, and cultural diversity under the heavens.

My use of the artisans’ pendant

It’s hard to write in words of understanding. The gift of our creative spirit’s imagination can manufacture a story from anything we see. In this case, a pendant is the herald of 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 story as a metaphor in the art on 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. That is one of heaven’s gifts and revelations adding purpose, perpetuity, and belonging to the discoverer’s heart.

If the knowledge discovered is true the mystery brings with it the peace of God, beyond understanding, and adding to its rest. Mysteries are revealed echoing contentment in man’s creative enterprise.

I choose the pendant to represent the family story because pendants hang over the hearts of the owner. In this case the imaged story gathering around a jewel of value, wisdom in council for new life seekers in family inheritance.

Embedded in the wise family council (if it’s wise) are the manufactures 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 family group to family group in their 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 of their creative intelligence to partner with my western cultured photorealism painting.

As an Australian citizen, I am honored indigenous peoples give me much 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 fear, 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 brothers and sisters, to explore all wonders in the world of art and freedom of expression. I choose to honor them incorporating their beautiful art disciplines with mine 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 of skin! 



ORIGINAL FOR SALE   * Bid or tender for the original framed (508mm x 508mm x 50mm) artwork. All offers are considered around $6,000 
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 Sale Certificate and maintenance information.
  • Poster art prints ship in insured tubes.