Stewart Nicol Soutar has become synonymous with whimsical storytelling in his paintings leaving an open door to interpretation and with a broad stroke has created a style that has classified as neo-classical surrealism. The latest in this is Saturday Night With Little Bill, a visual journey that has all the hallmarks of a classic visual conduit to the imagination.
In a broad sweep of the image, we see two things almost immediately: the bird in the foreground and then the various windows and lights across the background.
What can be assumed to be a tropical bird sat on its perch appears to be watching the neighbors through the window giving it a surreal and slightly voyeuristic feel (from a purely avian perspective). The color tones of yellow and orange are like a beacon in the dark, a taste of what is on the mind of the owner perhaps: tropical tones and a sense of peacocking to come. A Saturday night display so to speak.
The background is equally intriguing at first glance it appears random with windows and lights spaced randomly and the darkness of the color palette broken up with hints at other properties dropped sporadically through the scene but it’s on inspection that we see the truth of the matter. A Depth and scale that is both dramatic and homely in the same stroke, a neat visual trick to play with.
When taken from the birds (eye) view of a high angle (hinting at a ground floor flat) we see the blocking of apartments and the random flashes of humanity that in the real world would be visible to the naked eye are represented here by the flashes of orange and yellow of lamps and ceiling pendants in living rooms and bedrooms on a Saturday night as people prepare for their nights out, all seen from the perch of a tropical bird.
All the details are there and the impression is of a skewed angle of view that would fit with the birds-eye theory. Questions arise in my own mind, is the bird a pet? Sitting on a tree in a garden preparing itself for a night of hunting or stalking or a more esoteric representation of the mind of man: a Saturday night is a time to shine?
Visually a spectacle with the potential to be a story of its own to each new viewer the beauty of the image in all its neo surrealistic splendor is the opening of the mind to the potential of a Saturday night with Little Bill, a beautifully captured moment in time.
To learn more about Stewart Nicol Soutar or to purchase artwork/discuss commissions see: