My inspiration for this painting came from teaching my art classes to children recently, every week my art students log on and join me at my art studio virtually on zoom. We used the subject of birds last month, which got me thinking about the variety of these delicate creatures of the sky.
We started with our feathered friends nearby such as the Blue Tit, then travelled overseas to tropical Islands. There we discovered many different species with brightly coloured feathers and beaks, it was so hard to decide which bird to paint. I decided to create a kind of collage of images of a group tropical birds, the children were delighted I could demonstrate how to sketch and paint a variety of birds as a collection.
This is how the concept of ‘The Birds of Paradise’ painting came about, a creation of birds of multi-colours and botanical surroundings. The first bird we studied was the flamingo, everyone loves this beautiful pink coloured bird. I chose the American Flamingo as it has a deep pink plumage; primary and secondary flight feathers are black, and wings covered in red with pink legs and webbed feet. Their eyes are orange and yellow in colour. Special attention is needed when drawing the long neck, as well as the long, towering legs.
The Scarlett Macaw is a large red, yellow, and blue Central and South American parrot, a member of a large group of Neotropical parrots called macaw. It is native to humid evergreen forests of tropical Central and South America. With a rainbow of colours to make this bird come alive I started with the white around the eye, the yellow feathers, blue and then the most dominant colour of red.
Toucans are members of the Neotropical near passerine bird family Ramphastidae. The Ramphastidae are most closely related to the American barbets. They are brightly marked and have large, often ‘c’ shaped beaks. The family includes five genera and over forty different species. I have painted a Toucan a few times now, it reminds me of the Irish stout beer advertisements when they say, “It’s a lovely day for a Guinness”. When painting the Toucan, I enjoyed using the palette knife to create a bold thick layer of paint around its dramatic beak.
As well as adding a few more exotic birds I added some green tropical leaves and the Bird of Paradise flower. This striking bright orange flower works so well against the main background colour of blue. This painting is available to buy on my website, also I will be launching a limited edition print of it too. I will keep you all updated on my next painting, hopefully blogs like this give you a bit more insight into my painting process. Thanks so much, please feel free to get in touch with any questions or enquiries.