Pelicans eyes the seagulls – A story about fear





EYES OF THE PELICANS – Pelican oil painting parable on canvas


Full Description

EYES – Windows through which to see the world … both friend and foe alike.

Interested buyers, ask at this link for a “First in first serve” acquisition of the framed original or number 1 of 25 limited edition acrylic enhanced reproductions.


I became intrigued by the pelican’s functionality and family dynamics while watching them cruise the graceful flight paths in the South West and Kimberly Regions of West Australia. Watching them feeding, sleeping, and flocking together fascinated my inquiring mind. I had to know more.

In 1995, I spotted a beautiful image within a story in the Australian Geographic magazine and realized it was taken by a photography friend Mike Langsford* from Queenstown, New Zealand. The image became the foundation for this Pelican oil painting parable. 

The painting was technically challenging capturing the drama I saw. How could I create “depth of field”** in painting the parable concentrating on the eye as the center of attention? 

Why the eye? Images are seen by eyes and decisions are made from perceptions of what is seen. This revelation of perception inspired me to question the decision-making process in what I saw.

* Used with permission
** Depth of field is a photographic term for in-focus area giving a 3D effect

The unhappy parabolic oil painting artist and a frightened seagull

I wasn’t happy with the way the frightened gull’s wings were positioned in Mike’s original photo.

Choosing Goat Island Marine Reserve, New Zealand as a good spot to photograph frenzied gulls feasting over morsels of bread while on the flight I took my mother in tow I had her throw bread in the air for gulls to devour. With the camera pointed toward the heavens, I lay on the ground and called, 1, 2, and 3, instructions to my mother. You guested it compliant to her first son’s orders she heaved morsels of bread skyward and within minutes I had more than enough images for my reframing in Mike’s original shot. The image I wanted was winging in a dramatic state of powerful forward movement.

The developing story

I set myself challenges to create black without using black paint and a smooth blended airbrush effect using oils with brush strokes.

Ask me about the technique and I will tell you.

As is my habit, while developing a story I research as much as necessary knowledge about the subject. In this case, my good teacher Google did not let me down in discovering this amazing creature, the Pelican.

Then came this diversion, like a twist in the parable. The bill/beak and pouch are like a car. When we go shopping for food we put our goods in the boot to take home and then separate them into different receptacles for use later. The food’s purpose will sustain and fuel our body’s needs. 

The pelican uses its bill to capture food to transport into its pouch for separation to different regions in its body. The digestion chemicals break down the food and convert it into fuels sustaining energy for living. These are essential life purposes for Pelicans, reflecting our… to seek, collect, store, eat, and convert food to energy as our necessary physical life source.

Back to the main parable in the painting, I asked this question;

Why was the seagull frightened?

1 – Was the pelican attacking the seagull for being in the pelican’s safe space?
2 – Was the seagull frightened, (unnecessarily), while the pelican washed its bill and pouch, an act of Pelican domestics?
3 – Was the Pelican masterly devouring unseen fish for dinner with no interest in the seagull?

I will never know, but the truth is the seagull was frightened. Only one genuine reason for the 3 thoughts was worth the Seagull being afraid.

Parables in the painting

I reasoned, that there are times when unreasonable fears invade our hearts and we don’t know what is a good fear to take notice of or a bad fear to reject. This is part of seeing both externally and internally. The natural eyes see the world, the eyes of the heart imagine ideas perceived and the eyes of the spiritual want to live without dying.

Therefore, eyes are necessary to see for making a choice. 

Eyes need light to see.  How you perceive and take action differs according to the eyes of your heart. Natural light for seeing the outer, and inner light (kindness, fearlessness, wisdom, optimism) or dark light (fear, bad memories, shame, guilt) which counsel the heart to take some course of action. 

What was the seagulls’ motive to fly off? You may guess!

The Parable

I discovered, “The greatest gift God gave to man is not sight, it is vision because sight is a function of the eyes which see outwardly and vision is a function of the heart which see inwardly and spiritually, revealing the true essence of our human spirit”.

Dysfunctional hearts fear incorrectly. Impaired interpretation comes from dysfunction. 

A truly functional and healthy heart makes decisions on the correct interpretation of the vision. That is named wisdom. 

True wisdom only happens in the fullness of knowing the creator who created a vision in the beginning. Wisdom’s vision always guides into emotional intelligence for making the right choices, despite what happens outwardly.

So at the end of this painting journey, I discovered the parable crosses all nationalities, cultures, religions, and political ideologies. No language will ever hide the images of the human heart. 

I also discovered Pelicans are worldwide, and the logical conclusion is that this oil painting of wildlife could find a place for interior decorating anywhere from Sydney Australia, New York, Moscow, Beijing, Paris, and London where any good Australian ex-pat may find a home.



ORIGINAL FOR SALE.  * Bid or tender for the original artwork. All offers considered around $18,000
Artist oils on stretched, gesso-primed cotton canvas. Gloss dammar varnish protection. Handcrafted, gutter mounts NZ Pinus Radiata frame on NZ particleboard.
* Original and Limited Edition reproductions are supplied with Provenance, coded Authentication of Sale Certificate, and maintenance/care information.

Please ask about price and sizes – Replicating the original size (960 x 1420) on stretch-mounted archival canvas starts from $3750 inc GST

Unframed sizes | 960 x short side – $1150  |  650 x short side – $925
Printed on long-life archival canvas. Protected with two coats of UV archival spray.
* Stretch-mounted reproductions will incur added charges for mounting and freight.

Unframed sizes | 594 x short side – $145  |  420 x short side – $95
* Posters printed on fine art papers and treated with two coats of UV archival spray.


Images from “Eyes of The Pelicans”  will be exhibited on 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.


• Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Awards, NZ – Popular Choice Award
• Birkenhead Licensing Trust Art Awards, NZ – Tony Gilmour Memorial Award
• Mairangi Art Awards, NZ – Highly Commended
• Great Summer Holiday Art Awards, NZ – Merit Award
• Artivita International Art, Honorable Mention, USA

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