New painting - “Cockatoo"

The Cruelty Free Festival is on again in Sydney this year (Sunday October 25th) and once again they’re having an animal art show. I thought I’d try entering a piece this year, and this is it. We get a lot of cockatoos in our front garden - which, ahem, might be because we keep feeding them. They are intelligent, funny and surprisingly gentle birds, quite happy to sit close by me (or eat sunflower seeds out out my hand) as I studied and photographed them for this painting. This painting is a combination of several photos plus a good deal of just making stuff up but I’m very pleased with how it came together.

What was truly interesting about doing this painting was that right from the start I knew I wanted to start with a black - yes, that’s black, not blank - canvas. I felt this would make it easier to manage the extreme contrast required to paint a bird that’s almost white and have it actually stand out. I worked in layers - the very darkest darks first, then some middle values, then light values, and finally some highlights. Not an unusual way of painting, but I’ve only done a handful of pieces this way in the past. I’m really pleased with where it ended up in terms of how well the bird stands out against the background, and I’m quite certain I will work this way again.

This is on a stretched canvas, 16x20”, painted in Atelier Interactive Acrylics. I’ll let you know in late September if you’ll be able to see it in the show. If not it will be available for sale directly from me!

I should add - it’s also quite difficult to get a good photo of. The actual painting looks better than this!


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