Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Silent Encounters - Part 1

Watercolour on paper, 38x30 cm, life-size

It is difficult to spot Tawny Frogmouths. Walking through the park I noticed three Magpies on the ground, all three looking very inquisitive and curious towards another bird right between them. The bird was facing away from me so I could only see its back side, a big round head and a rounded body nearly invisible because of its amazing camouflage. Strange to see one on the ground in the daylight.

On my desk

Although Tawny Frogmouths - Podargus strigoides - are very similar to owls, they are not, they belong to the order of Caprimulgiformes and to the Frogmouth family, Podargidae. They are very skilled night hunters with big eyes and very soft feathers for a perfectly silent flight. The Magpies eventually lost interest and the bird (a female) then flew after a few minutes on a nearby tree where a nearly fully grown young was looking straight at me. On another branch there was what looked like the remains of an old nest, a flimsy pile of thin twigs,  half of it on the ground. I found some feathers.

Work in progress


When painting feathers there is often a feeling of being more a scientist than an artist, or something in between at least, like observing things through a microscope or a magnifying glass. Their feathers are covered with a layer of what appears to be fur, very very soft and this is the reason for their silent flight, just like owls.

Detail

To be continued next week...

18 comments:

  1. Ooo - what fantastic feathers! I just love these. I did some drawings of feathers last year and they were so fun to render. And I love the fluffy bits at the bottoms of the feathers, too. :)
    Carol

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  2. Une très belle planche de plumes... Votre travail est magnifique et j'aime beaucoup lire vos explications...
    gros bisous

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  3. What a great thing--to be able to see a Frogmouth, and young,in the wild. A great thing even moreso for me, to see your amazing watercolors of feathers. Masterful, Matteo--I am pretty much awestruck!

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  4. Exquisite drawings. I look forward to more appearing on your page.

    And you have solved the mystery of feathers. I was given a box of nature objects for Christmas (including seeds, pods, leaves a nest and many feathers) . They were picked up from the parks and footpaths of Toowoomba (near Brisbane). We could guess the obvious feathers, some were decided to be duck or not-duck . Then there were the uniquely and gorgeously patterned feathers. It was suggested they were tawny frogmoth, as one had been seen nearby - and your collection looks exactly the same. So that is what they are .
    My rendering will be slightly different then yours !

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  5. Thank you Alissa! I'm glad my painting was helpful. I rekon yours was a great gift to receive for a nature artist.
    Thanks to Carol, Martine and The Cranky Bird too!

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  6. Great to see your set up and wips...and your beautiful feathers x

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  7. I love this Matteo - am a big fan of feather paintings ... so beautiful - you have done a lovely job ... loving your blog :)
    Love the studio setup and lovely outlook too!

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  8. Hi Matteo, via via I found your Blog. And what I see is sooo beautiful. I love the Nature also very much. I am a beginner and just started my painting blog (www.marjascreativity.blogspot.com) beside my stamping blog. I adore your paintings and it inspires me to go on. I put some older work on my blog but also new ones. I am searching what style and material is the best for me. Sure I will follow you.
    Lovely greet from the netherlands
    Marja

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  9. To Claire, Vicki, Marja and Francisco thank you very much for the nice words. Vicki, I love your blog too and keeping updated on your beautiful work and your SBA assignments. Marja, your words are flattering, thank you, I wish you best luck in finding your way.

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  10. talento e una persona fantastica Orgoglioso di averti nel clan xxx

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  11. What beautiful work! I love the feathers.

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  12. MAGNIFIQUES TES COULEURS MATEO !!! J ADORE CES OISEAUX DIEU QUE LA NATURE EST BELLE - CONTINUE MATEO A NOUS EBLOUIR DE TES SI BELLES AQUARELLES - CECILE LA BRODEUSE

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  13. Matteo, thank you for jointing my site.
    I find your art work enchanting and naturally am returning the compliment and joining yours. I would not wish to miss a sin;a post!

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    Replies
    1. What an enchanted studio corner you have- and your feathers and story are lovely- We call them succiacapre, that kind of bird, and I've only seen them flying at night.

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  14. Beautiful feathers and your drawings of them . Your work is always a pleasure to see.
    I enjoyed reading about your favourite books , I have some special books too that inspired me.
    Best wishes for a creative year in 2012 and more of your wonderful paintings.
    Millyx

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  15. Thank you Heather, Maria Elena, Julia, Cecile, Arija, Concetta and Milly, my best wishes to all of you.

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