…do you come up with the surreal things you make? Well, I don’t know exactly, but below is a kind of report of a creative process.

I had been tinkering a lot before I came up with this strange swimming class. I started with a birthday card because I thought it is useful to have at least one in the collection. But whatever I attempted, it just not became ‘wow’. I tried and tried to make a nice and funny birthday card, but everything I explored, did not work. As always there comes a point of ‘Kill your darlings’. I had spent a lot of time on this collage and then it is tempting to turn a blind eye to the fact that it is not quite what I want. But if I don’t get excited to the point of being annoying, it’s not going to work. The collage for the card just remained a representation of a very friendly yet boring party…..

This bigmouth fell out of tune enormously

But then The Pelican came to visit! This big mouth stood out amongst the other birthday visitors. This pelican had an appearance! And so it came about that I decided to continue with just the pelican. I vanished all the other animals. (Sorry darlings)

After looking closely at the pelican, I thought ‘Such a pelican’s beak demands something in it’….and that became the swallows I once photographed in my neighbour’s barn. And slowly it began to look like a swimming class…(Don’t ask me why, I don’t know)

They really are the B-52s of birds

A collage with a pelican in the leading role was still on my wish list anyway. Ever since I first saw pelicans in the wild I have been a huge fan of them. This is an Australian model, but I have also seen them in the Caribbean, those are smaller and much browner. On land, they look like clumsy, slow animals, but when they dive and hunt, they really are the B-52s of birds. Spectacular!

The picture of the pelican comes from my own archive, just like all the other photos, except for the starfish. The old newspaper article I made into a paper hat comes from the Dutch newspaper archive Delpher. This newspaper cutout tells about my great-great-grandfather who was a sailor: Captain Bloema.

Art Prints are available in the Wondrous Goose shop. Postcards of this cheerful collage are for sale on Etsy

The birthday card will come later :-)