• lucyinthestreet

To Paint a bird (1) : a self-experiment


Given these troubled times we are undergoing in every corner of the world, I would like to run a little self-experiment following the instructions of Jacques Prévert on how to paint a bird.


While I myself am quite busy these days, I will pass the project on to my friend lucyinthestreetwithspectacles, who will undertake the trial in my name.

Now all we need to do, is follow lucyinthestreet around and watch her putting the instructions into practice, wondering what the resulting painting will look like.


Even though the result is quite uncertain. And we all experienced it during this lockdown period: uncertainty is one of the most beastly things. Now don't take it so hard. Have you ever heard of the idea to love your enemies? Let's try it out.

Let us embrace this uncertainty, enjoying the little certainties we can sneak away from it when it isn't paying attention. How to?


By following the road signs.


Here they are:



To paint a bird (by Jacques Prévert)


To Elsa Henriquez


First paint a cage with an open door

then paint something pretty something simple something beautiful something useful for the bird

then place the canvas within a tree in a garden in a wood or in a forest

hide behind the tree without saying anything without moving an inch…

Sometimes the bird arrives quickly but he can also take many years before deciding not to discourage oneself

wait wait for years if you have to the speed or the sluggishness of the bird’s arrival not having any effect on the outcome of your painting

When the bird arrives if it arrives keep the most profound silence wait for the bird to enter the cage and when he is inside gently close the door with the paintbrush

then erase all of the bars one by one while taking care not to touch any of the bird’s feathers

then do the tree’s portrait choosing the most beautiful branch for the bird paint the greenery and the freshness of the wind as well the spray of the sun and the noise of the animals in the grass in the heat of summer

and then wait for the bird to decide to sing If the bird doesn’t sing it’s a bad sign it’s a sign that your painting is bad but if it sings it’s a good sign it’s a sign that you can sign

Then you very gently pluck one of the bird’s feathers and you write your name in a corner of the canvas.

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