Name "Birdie" the Pygmy Falcon and WIN!

Name "Birdie" the Pygmy Falcon and WIN!

I cannot express how challenging this painting was... Not necessarily physically (although that wasn't a walk in the park either!), but mentally.

It has been a long time since I painted a super-realistic wildlife piece. I actually gasped when I looked to see exactly how long it had been: I finished “Vibrant”, my Black-collared Barbet in October last year. Eek! I’ve made peace with the fact that not much new work gets produced in November and December. It’s my busiest time of year, and there just isn’t enough time or head space for such intricate work. But I had big plans to really focus on creating quality wildlife art in 2022.

Alas, our plans don’t always work out the way we’d like them to…

I started working on this charming female Pygmy Falcon months and months ago, and managed to finish the background. Then, Life happened in its cruellest form - war broke out in my husband’s home country of Ukraine - and our wheels came off a bit........ It has been unimaginably difficult to stop allowing this harsh reality to completely overshadow our everyday life. Some days, it still does.

Thankfully, I'm in a far better headspace now, and it felt really good to be back behind the easel.

The reference photo of this remarkable little raptor was expertly captured (and shared with permission) by Stanley Harvey from Kimberley.⁠

I love that you can see both the bird’s face and the lovely colouring on her back. I think this is one of those exceptions where the female of the species is more attractive than the male! That red-brown backpack is so striking against the monochrome tones. And of course, I’m always a sucker for a pretty perch! I also really like the strong, contrasting light and deep shadows - this makes for a more dramatic painting. I rarely add a background to my pieces, but in this case I added a swish of green to make sure that the bird’s white feathers don’t get lost against the white paper.

Since I’m having trouble coming up with a suitable title for “Birdie”, I’m opening the floor for suggestions. In exchange for your invaluable input, you can win something lekker!!!


Name "Birdie" and WIN!

In exchange for your invaluable input, you stand the chance to win three of my proudly South African, Downloadable Wall Art illustrations! The lucky winner will be notified via email, and the results will be posted on my social media accounts by 29 September 2022.

downloadable wall art range by the happy struggling artist

How to vote for your favourite

Simply follow the link below and select your fave! Make sure to enter your details when voting, so that I know who you are. I will choose the title that best suits the painting, and notify the winner either via email or on the social media channel where they made their suggestion. You are most welcome to share this blog post or the link to the vote. The more the merrier!


In the meantime, enjoy the behind-the-scenes creation of "Birdie":

preparing reference material for wildlife painting

When your stupid *#%@" printer doesn't understand how to print on an A3, and you don't want to waste any more ink or paper figuring it out, but you really need that photo printed to scale to use as reference material for a new painting........ Gotta love cello tape...!⁠

hyper-realistic pygmy falcon painting by the happy struggling artist 001

Trying to take a selfie with the work-in-progress. Instead, I have yet another dreadful confused-face to add to my Best Worst Selfies of 2022!

hyper-realistic pygmy falcon painting by the happy struggling artist 002

Oooh, that red-brown backpack is looking goooood!

hyper-realistic pygmy falcon painting by the happy struggling artist 003

The black and white details on the tips of her wing and tail were probably my favourite bit to paint...

hyper-realistic pygmy falcon painting by the happy struggling artist 004

Almost there... The log has had its first few layers of basic shapes and colours, but still needs quite a bit of detail. Kitty is supervising, as usual!

 original watercolour painting of pygmy falcon

original watercolour painting of pygmy falcon 002

Love wildlife?

Visit my online store to see more from my fine art wildlife range.

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