Branzino for Two
28 x 22 in. (71 x 56 cm)
Transparent watercolor on paper
Available through the artist

In Branzino for Two, artist Matthew Bird was inspired by the great Dutch masters, employing a dark background which allows light to starkly reveal the beautiful textures and colors on the table, each carefully studied with precision and clarity. Simple kitchen ingredients are transformed into exquisitely observed objects that demand contemplation. The gentle arch of the fish and marble veining in the mortar and pestle encourage one to move around the objects. The playful twist of lemon, gleam of copper, and water droplets on the leeks are a feast for the eyes. The use of transparent watercolor, a notoriously difficult and unforgiving medium, adds additional vibrancy.

Matthew also wanted to paint an ode to his wife’s favorite dish from their travels in Italy. Each of the elements is carefully arranged and rendered in the vivid colors and lifelike quality that denote Matthew’s signature style. The ingredients for a humble meal are elevated, allowing the viewer to pause and enjoy the beauty found in everyday objects.

Painter and art juror Iain Stewart wrote, “Matthew’s work is not defined by the subject, but rather by the painter himself, orchestrating what emotional response the viewer will take away, while allowing the freedom to explore and glean the hidden gems within it. It’s a joy to behold.”

Matthew maintains a studio outside Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife and children, where he paints with a deep love and respect for nature and life, enjoying both portrait and still life work.

“I have focused on developing my craft to capture the beauty of what surrounds me with precision and clarity,” he says, “and strive to convey that to all people through the universal language of representational art. It is my desire that when others see my work they may be inspired by the perceptible signs of the real Creator.”

Matthew has been featured in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine as one of “Today’s Masters” (Feb. 2018); Watercolor Magazine as “Ones to Watch” (Dec. 2017); The Artist’s Magazine, as winner in the All Media Competition (July/August 2017); and in Splash: The Best of Watercolor book.

Branzino for Two traveled to Italy where it was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2018 Fabriano International Prize “Marche d’Acqua.”

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