I’ll Fly Away
by Pamela Pauline
The creation of I’ll Fly Away was a labour of love. This is the first artwork in my “Grow Where You Are Planted” series…and this is how it came about.
The loss of a parent is always a good opportunity to reflect on one’s own life. While never using the expression “Grow Where You Are Planted”, my parents lived this concept. Raising six children to be curious, to embrace other cultures, to be a travellers and not tourists, they gave us wings to fly. When I married someone from the other side of the world, and relocated permanently, they embraced him and my life. Never once was I made to feel guilty. As a parent to three beautiful children myself, I secretly cross my fingers behind my back that they do not do the same, but also know that we have encouraged them to be global citizens. I’ll Fly Awaystarted my “Grow Where You Are Planted” series and is a tribute to both of my parents.
My father, who was in California, passed away in July last year (2018). The morning I received the news from my mom, I went for a bushwalk with my husband to reflect. Suddenly, we were surrounded by Lorikeets and my heart filled with a certain familiarity and awe that I had not felt before. This was my dad’s way of letting me know that he was still present. Of course it was. My dad loved Lorikeets and on his last visit to Australia, he was bitten by one. He had this way of being bitten by the most unlikely animals. It was a family joke. My dad was never going to be ready to leave this world and this was his way of ensuring that this joke lived on.
The process of creating this piece was therapeutic, because in the end, love is the greatest of all healers. I started with the Lorikeet, and kept that as the focal point of the piece. It is the only element that is in full colour. In the rest of the artwork, I am working with muted tones. Little by little I added other birds, all of which mate for life…I love that symbolism; the Powerful Owls, the Kookaburras, the Galahs, the Tawny Frogmouths and the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. I photographed all of these birds in Sydney. As in life and in my lorikeet experience, the more one opens their eyes and minds, the more one sees. I wanted that to be reflected in this piece. All of the flora and fauna is native to Australia. The work is comprised of over 80 images taken by me in the past year. I use my camera as a tool to capture the images, then with editing software, I carefully dissect the images, selecting only that which I want to remain visible.
The last element to be added to my composition was the flock of cockatoos flying away. Fittingly, at my father’s memorial service, we sang the touching spiritual “I’ll Fly Away”, his favourite.
So, this began my series entitled “Grow Where You Are Planted”. Make the most of life, regardless of where you find yourself. Open your eyes, be grateful.