Symphony # 4am – Tanya Shatseva


As a long term sufferer of insomnia I can really relate to this fantastical representation of the feeling of sleep deprivation.   Thankfully I don’t personally own a cockerel or a flamingo, because if this was my house during one of my long bouts of insomnia we would be having flamingo stew for dinner.

Shatseva talks about this painting her website, the description is short but explains what the viewer is seeing perfectly:-

“The painting is dedicated to insomnia. At the very moment you are about to sleep and birds begin their sunrise performance as loud as the various thoughts in your head. Each bird represent a thought.”

Anyone who has had a terrible night’s sleep will understand this, staring at the clock, watching the minutes and hours pass by, calculating how much sleep you are actually going to get before you need to crawl out of your pit of despair, better known as your bed.  Thoughts of whatever is plaguing you flapping around your head in no particular linear or structured process.  Much like the birds in this picture.

Shatseva likes to shift the perception of situations, creating a dreamlike depiction of the metaphysical.  The use of bold colours adding to the whimsical feel of the overall painting.

I really love how the ground to sky is reminiscent of the transition from night to day, with the twilight blues and pink hues of the morning.  The ground the girl is lay on almost seems to be melting away, like the night, seeping out of reach.  The birds all squawking the morning chorus and a reminder of the lack of sleep which has been had.  I could go into the symbolism of each bird, but on this occasion I don’t believe that they have been chosen for what they represent, more for either the aesthetic or the noise that they represent.

Shatseva presents all the subjects that she paints in this fairytale view and if you are interested in her art you can see more of it here

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