When I saw this lovely photo of a Black-collared Barbet, I could immediately envision it as a watercolour painting: There is so much life here! the light reflected in the barbet's feathers; the intent look in his eye; even the negative space that the bird is seemingly about to flit off into, creates a sense of anticipation and movement. But, above all else, the striking colours - the warm tones of the barbet's red and the yellow aloe flower - promised the makings of a gorgeous artwork!
I have named it, "Vibrant", a title that encapsulates the striking colours of the artwork. If you're a birder, you'll know that apart from their gorgeous plumage, these barbets have a really resonant, recognisable call, too. So, the title is even more fitting!
The reference photo for "Vibrant" was expertly captured by one of my favourite photographers, Brian Culver. I've also used his beautiful photos as reference for "Lookout", my lockdown meerkat, along with two others that sold during my very first exhibition back in 2016.
I loved working on this bird. Feathers are always challenging to portray realistically, but my biggest obstacle turned out to be the aloe flower. Not the actual painting of the flower, but rather the gathering-the-courage-to-finally-do-it... It is such a finicky, detailed little section of the piece, and it lay like a daunting mountain in my path. Of course, with the bird being all but completed at this stage, I was worried about the risk of ruining the entire painting if I messed up this last bit!
As it turns out, my concerns were unfounded: The aloe flower was by far the most fun to paint! The bright yellow also immediately brought life to the bird, really pulling together the to sections. So... yay!
And now, say aloe to my little friend, "Vibrant":
"Vibrant" is now available in my online store, along with only 20 limited edition, archival quality prints.