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A few neotropic bird paintings (1 Viewer)

BryanP

Little known member
Canada
“A mobbing and a small death”
This painting is part of the “Events in the life of Birds” collection (one of four sets) which consists of moments I’ve witnessed, either generally or specifically, over the years.
Rather than clutter up the wildlife art forum with separate posts I’ll stick to posting other work in this thread.
Cheers,
Bryan
PS. Bonus points if you can name the species depicted here. Hint, Costa Rica, mid elevations.
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BryanP

Little known member
Canada
Fabulous, seen most of these in Panama, at the Canopy Tower
Thank you kindly!

Canopy tower! I lived in Panama for three years and I’m ashamed to say I never got there. We did live on the west side of Gatun Lake for four months so saw a lot of the birds one might see at Canopy or even the pipeline road, similar habitat and elevation. Someday I hope.
 

BryanP

Little known member
Canada
Yellow-eared Toucanet. (Selenidera spectabilis)
This painting is part of the Regional endemics of Central America collection.

Rather than just posting paintings I thought a little background on how these things happen would be fun, so here goes.
There are a lot of good reasons for attempting these but one important driver is species accuracy. I’m happy to indulge in an arty approach providing it doesn’t interfere with a clear and general description of colour, shape or markings of the species.

I enjoy inventing things out of my head without referring to a photograph so I usually start by fleshing out the pose, scene and shape from a blank page. It’s then worked on as far as memory and knowledge allows. There’s a lot of pushing, pulling, erasing and going backwards this way but boy is it satisfying when it works out.
I tend to invent this way in order to avoid the subtle but persistent tyranny of the photograph. I’m susceptible to it’s influence so have to exercise caution.

When the painting has a life of its own I then sit down and curate as many photos as possible in order to gain an understanding of an average colour, shape and markings for that species. I put off the curating bit for as long as I can.

Needless to say another important tool is field work. Seeing the bird in the wild even briefly helps immensely and since my memory is fairly photographic I can use that in the sketch workups. Field work is not always feasible of course but whenever I can I do. Consulting with biologists and field workers is also a sought after resource as well.
Having access to a lab collection would be wonderful but that’s not happening any time soon so I build my research processes as best I can.

To be honest I’m not sure where these fit in the field of bird illustration. That spectrum consisting of pure art for arts sake at one end to pure scientific illustration at the other. Betwixt and between perhaps. At any rate I find the work challenging and intellectually rewarding.

A side note,
One nice thing about switching over to an iPad after 35 years working with traditional materials is that every stroke in the painting in the painting app is recorded. It’s a great teaching tool, and actually helps with understanding the progress and timeline of a painting.
Anyway, I include here a video from that process video. It originally was a twelve minute video that I speeded up to one minute. Even I don’t have the patience to watch the entire twelve minutes and I painted the bloody thing. The video quality had to be reduced as well so it could squeeze through the internet.
The painting itself in real time has 14 hours invested so far with more to come.

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delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
OMG!!! These are just stunning Bryan.

The detail round the eye in the last image is just amazing.

Is that your reflection I can see in his eye? ;)
 

BryanP

Little known member
Canada
OMG!!! These are just stunning Bryan.

The detail round the eye in the last image is just amazing.

Is that your reflection I can see in his eye? ;)
Thank you Delia, not in this case but thats the nice thing about working digitally, as long as the resolution supports it you can zoom in forever to get crazy detail.
 

BryanP

Little known member
Canada
Absolutely amazing! You have a fan here... Show more!!!!
Thank you kindly Swampy Sam!
I’ll keep posting to this thread but I try to keep the frequency down for the sake of the wildlife art forum. Theres over 250 paintings in the collection so there’ll be plenty of time to post more. 👍😉
 

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