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 with … both friend and foe alike.

For interested buyers, don’t hesitate to 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.


In the South West and Kimberly Regions of West Australia, I became intrigued by the pelican’s functionality and family dynamics. Watching them in graceful flight, feeding, sleeping and in the flock left a lasting impression.

In 1995, I viewed an image in Australian Geographic photographed by Mike Langsford*. The image became the foundation for this Pelican oil painting parable. I made many adjustments from Mikes original, particularly with seagulls and rephotographed the gulls in flight.

The painting was technically challenging to capture the drama I saw. How could I create a “depth of field”** in the painting parable? I wanted to concentrate on the eye as the center of attention. Why the eye? Images are seen by eyes and decisions are made from the perception of what is seen. This revelation of perception inspired me to question the decision-making process in what we see.

* 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 in Mikes original photo. I chose Goat Island Marine Reserve, New Zealand and with my mother in tow I had her throw bread in the air for the gulls to devour. The camera pointed toward the heavens, I lay on the ground and captured the image of my vision. The image was to have wings in a certain place of movement.

I also set myself a challenge to create non-light areas like the black of the feathers without using black paint. Ask me how I did that and I will tell you. I also wanted to get an airbrush effect just using oils and brush strokes.

A developing story

The story developed as I painted. I discovered an amazing creature in the Pelican.

Then I went into this diversion. The bill/beak and the pouch are like the trunk of a car. When we go food shopping we put our goods in the boot to take home and then separate them into their different receptacles for use later on, which of course will sustain and fuel our bodies needs. The pelican uses its bill to capture food to transport into its pouch for separation to different regions in its body after chemicals break down the food. The process converts to fuel and sustains energy for living. These are essential for Pelicans needs, like ours, to collect and store food.

Now back to the main parable in this Pelican oil painting. Interestingly, as I was 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 in the 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 reason for the 3 thoughts was worth being afraid of.

The intent of the painting

In the process of painting I reasoned, there are times when unreasonable fears invade our heart and we don’t know what is a good fear to take notice of or bad fear to reject. This is all a part of seeing both externally and internally. The natural eyes see the world, the eyes of the heart dream dreams and the eyes of the spiritual hunger for what is true.

Eyes are necessary for seeing and making choices. Eyes need light to see but the difference is in how you perceive and then take action. There is natural light to see the outer image, there is inner light and that light may be dark (fear, bad memories, etc) which counsel the heart to take a course of action. What were the seagulls motive to fly off?

The Parable

Here 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 the natural world and vision is a function of the heart which is the true essence of the human spirit”.

Dysfunctional hearts fear incorrectly. Impaired interpretation comes from dysfunction. A truly functional and healthy heart will make decisions on the correct interpretation of vision and that is wisdom, the true elixir of life on earth. This can only happen in the fullness of knowing the creator who gave us a vision in the first place. His vision within us will always guide us into emotional intelligence and making right choices, despite what happens outwardly.

So at the end of this journey of thought, Pelicans are worldwide, and the logical conclusion is that this oil painting of wildlife could find a place as interior decoration in Sydney Australia, New York, Moscow, Bejing, Paris or London where any good Australian expat finds a home.



ORIGINAL FOR SALE.  * Bid or tender for the original artwork. All offers considered above $11,995 
Artist oils on stretched, gesso primed cotton canvas. Gloss dammar varnish protection. Handcrafted, gutter mount NZ Pinus Radiata frame on NZ particle board.
* Original and Limited Edition reproductions are supplied with Provenance, coded Authentication of Sale Certificate and maintenance/care information.

Please ask about the price and sizes.

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” is 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.


• 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