“Wildlife profile” – blog post

The bird

I stumbled across the reference for this painting on a website for artists.  Photographers share their photos so that artists can use them as references for creating art. What a great find that was! Copyright infringement is a really big deal and you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the law. A lot of people aren’t aware of it, now that “sharing” on social media is gone so normal. But let’s discuss this some other time. It is a big subject and probably deserves its own post.

Back to our wildlife profile. I found the reference photo and I just knew I had to paint it. This fab brown Pelican in its breeding colors, looking all snobby and arrogant. I love it when you can see (or imagine) the character of an animal in a photo. And this one was one of them. I had never painted a bird before but I had some time in between commissions and decided to go for it. Picking a rather large board size, to give this boy the imposing feel I had gotten from the photo, and off I went.

The painting

It was a challenging painting. There are lots of textures in the huge beak and the feathers are very different to my usually furry characters. But mainly, I didn’t want to lose the impression of the bird. Those icy eyes and proud stance. I am laughing now, but I so badly wanted to give him a pair of scholars glasses, so he could look down over them lol

I think my favorite part of the painting was the creation of the clouds in the background and the beak and eyes. The yellow/orange feathers of the head were challenging. But I really want to paint more feathers sometime soon. I am a huge fan of birds of prey and I got a couple reference images lines up, only waiting for me to paint them. I also loved learning more about Pelicans. I had ever only seen the huge white ones here in Fota Wildlife Park. So the brown pelican and its breeding colors was a little discovery for me.

I hope you enjoyed looking at this bird of the sea (and its impressive opinion) and maybe you learned something new here too.