The Domain of the Measuring Bird.
This is an interesting painting by Heather, because it is inspired by both "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, and "A Letter for Alice", by me! There's the Cheshire Cat, that familiar magical feline, shining away like the sun in the top left hand corner. He's a presiding spirit, of course, over a scene that is part jungle, part fantasy and part nightmare. The other dominant figure is The Measuring Bird - one of my creations, in the spirit of Carroll, but saying something about Carroll. I suppose he is the Measuring Bird in my novel, because he's a mystical and mathematical creature who harms himself with too much conceit. He can measure everything in the world but finds that his own bank-side hole, which actually fitted him pretty well as a home, is technically too small for him, after all. The measurement cannot lie! He makes no attempt to squeeze himself back in, - he just stays outside and eventually dies of cold! People are often good at harming themselves, aren't they? In the painting, Alice - or is that Lorina? - is falling down a hole, into the darkness, and the world goes on, indifferent - a verdant morass of Darwinian nature, with a frog, with bugs, with a frightened little mouse and even a butterfly which, viewed another way, is a medieval imp or devil. The imp just watches, just beyond the cascading light from the Cheshire Cat, and he's comfortable with the shadows. There is tension and anxiety and a crazy kind of beauty, and all in perfect balance with enchantment.