Artist Code: 1501. Blue and Gold Macaws and Swamp Hibiscus Completed 7th July 2016. Original Oil on 100% stretched cotton canvas Size 16″ x 40″, Painted on all four sides (ready to hang as box canvas). Varnished September 2017. Prints available
This painting first came to life in February 2015. I hoped to finish it by the first weekend in July 2015 so that it could be displayed at my Cambridge Open Studios (COS) Exhibition when my studio was open all four weekends in July. However, it was displayed sparsely-done at COS because several commissions and other artwork for exhibitions meant that it had to be put on the back burner for most of 2015. I started painting it again in January 2016 – it has taken until 7th July to finish it: several commissions, too much golf, darts, tennis, badminton and bowls!
It is a fun picture, designed completely in my mind’s eye, using a very useful resource photograph courtesy of my golfing friend Martin Johns (two lower right birds), and a couple of my own resource pictures taken in 2014 at Banham Zoo. The background is how I would imagine a jungle to be, although I did look up the swamp hibiscus as I felt the painting needed a bit of red with all that blue, yellow and green! It was a relief to finish it, but it has left a bit of a hole as it was great fun painting it. I have tried to capture the individuality of each parrot – even though they all look the same, every facial pattern is different (like a thumb print in humans). Macaws are “zygodactyl” which means they have four toes, the first and fourth of which point backwards, and the middle two frontwards. Toucans and Woodpeckers also share this characteristic – a bit of information for your next natural history quiz!