It never occurred to me that Cling-Cling, as with so many of the other oddball names assigned to the cottages and rooms of the Whistling Bird, was, well, a bird.
Turns out that the Cling-Cling (or Kling-Kling) is also known as the Jamaican Antillean Grackle. According to my sources, these sable-colored, glossy birds "love handouts and scraps of food ... and are quite adept at stealing food so as not to share with other birds." They also have a fondness for the nuts of the Royal Palm tree (as shown in this detail from my painting.)
But I get ahead of myself. Let's go back to the beginning.
My Cling-Cling began as a frumpish little tart, rather than the regal and imposing figure he eventually became. Here's how he started out:
Like I said, frumpish tart.
I didn't much like his attitude.
When I stretched this canvas back onto the stretchers here in Jamaica, I gave him the once-over and decided he needed a new pose. I tried to rub away the charcoal with my paint thinner so I could re-draw the bird. I didn't make much headway in erasing that first pose. It just wouldn't go away.
So I just took up a paintbrush and, using a couple of entirely different photo references I found online, I began to block out a different form for my Cling-Cling. I used a deep prussian blue, and then blocked in the background in oranges and yellows, completely obliterating the aforementioned frumpish tart.
He's looking a bit raven-ish here, no? A bit spooky, a bit Edgar Allen Poe-ish. I found out much later that there is also a superstition about the Cling-Cling down here in Jamaica - oh nevermind, just go look it up yourself.
Anyway - I was happy with that silhouette but needed to tamp down that bright orange. Too garish. And so, I layered on some paint, looking for a more golden yellow color.
Or maybe a more buttery yellow? I decided I was going to add that nut/seed in his beak, which would be a brilliant orange color, so I really wanted it to pop off the background. That idea made me really tone down the oranges in the background, even though I did like them as shown above. The yellows became lemony, with hints of green.
After adding the Royal Palm nut in his beak, I decided to softly add a bit of palm leaves into the background. He looks a bit less menacing now, too.
Except for those claws -- they look pretty vicious!