Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and Tree Waratah ~ Watercolour Natural History Painting-0

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and Tree Waratah ~ Watercolour Natural History Painting

Sunday, January 22, 2017 | 8:20 pm | Media

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and Tree Waratah ~ Natural History Painting ~ Watercolour 52x71cm / 20.5x28in

‘Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and Tree Waratah’ is my current painting on the drawing board, and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about any bird painting subject than I am about this piece. Of course Ive worked on many Black Cockatoo paintings in the past… They are an all time favourite of mine like they are for so many of you… but surprisingly, the Tree Waratah remains an entirely new and wonderful subject for me learn about and to illustrate. Far too long on my ‘must paint list’, the time has finally come to shine a light on this gorgeous subject.

For me this painting challenge has all the usual ingredients my work is so well known for. This is another fairly large piece, full of intricate details, the complex structure of the inflorescences with such delicious bold colour and luxurious form, and all the technical and medium challenges that I thrive on. I’ve no doubt you can see why I am excited to bring this beautiful new painting to life.

To top it off, these are two of my favourite Australian wildlife subjects of all time, the remarkable Red Tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) and the wonderful native Tree Waratah (Alloxylon flammeum) so popular amongst our Australian birds. This is by no means an easy painting to tackle, but these winning elements make this a pretty hard painting to beat in my book. Besides, you know how i love a challenge!

heidi willis_botanical artist_tree waratah

SONY DSC

Female Red Tailed Black Cockatoo (OW SO PRETTY!!)

In this case my client came to me with a clear understanding of what he was after for this painting, but it is quite uncanny how often my clients come to me with such parallel thoughts and intentions as my own. I have been planning this painting for some time now and was in the process of putting it together when this commission came in. Synchronicity like that brings so much good energy with it and is my favourite circumstance to work with. Of course when a client and I have our heads and hearts on the same page, only good can come of it.

When choosing subjects, my greatest love and focus is colour. More so, it is the intoxicating, complex and intricate relationships of colour between elements that really stirs me as an artist. This romantic dialogue is what I like to explore the most and to represent in my work, especially when it comes to bird painting. The Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and the red Tree Waratah are a perfect marriage, not only in a scientific sense as far as natural history illustration goes, but in art as well. The reds in both subject, with their delicate shifts between one subject to another creates such magic… and that tail? JUST WOW… It is simply a melody that must be sung.

heidi willis_black cockatoo_bird painting

And so we begin another piece, a story in the making of our incredible natural world and all its wonder for which I can only try to do it justice! The image above gives you an insight of the subjects, and of the painting layout Ill be working on for the next little while.

Of course I will be covering the progress of ‘Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and Tree Waratah’ here over the coming weeks or months for your interest, but feel free to join me for a closer viewing of its unfolding on my Facebook Page too, or scroll through the progress album for a different perspective on its progress. Thank you for to everyone who has pulled up their chair… Bandaids on hands, now lets get started!

(Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and Tree Waratah original is SOLD)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The drawing begins, its a very long, demanding and precise process but its great to have things underway. Every step, a little closer to getting the brushes wet

heidi willis_black cockatoo_drawing

The drawing stage continues over a handful of days to complete. You can see a little more of the flower detail here. The painting can begin next… We love the painting!

Black cockatoo_Botanical art_pencil drawing

A long day painting sees the first flower going in… loving this palette already!

Heidi Willis_Botanical artist_Australian

Flowers begin to cluster…

heidi willis_tree waratah_botanical artist_watercolour

The current cluster of flower is taking an insanely long time to complete, but its so satisfying to get it just right! For anyone interested, I have a short video of this section in time lapse for you to enjoy also

heidi willis_botanical artist_australian tree waratah

Todays progress sees the colours creep into pinks, oranges and the distance. The details soften as they fall away, seeing the completion of the flowers on the left side at last.

heidi willis_Tree waratah_botanical artist_bird painting

It has been a huge working week again, painting almost without stopping as usual… but the weekends efforts sees a beautiful end of working on the red flowers, shifting into the rich green palette of the leaves at last. Its a welcome relief and the start of this painting really pulling together and finding its life.

heidi willis_botanical artist_Tree waratah_painting_watercolour

The past few days have been spent on the bottom right corner exploring leaves and branches falling away int to the shadows… lots of beautiful tonal work here. Another very long studio day ahead will see another section of the surrounds come together.

heidi willis_Botanical painting_watercolour_Tree waratah

Today Ive completed another section of the background and leaves, shifting the palette into some beautiful clean blues as the branches catch the light.

heidi willis_Tree waratah_Watercolour_botanical painting

Ive been working on the background today, bringing the lower left corner to completion

heidi willis_Botanical artist_bird painting_watercolour_s

The past week or so have been intensively focussed on the right side of this painting, painting a large cluster of leaves in rich green and delicate blues to the top. The foliage and flowers are now complete, leaving just the soft focus background of the left side remaining. SO MUCH WORK! But Im getting there now 😀

heidi willis_bird painting_botanical art_australian artist

This weeks work sees the background completed, and Ive just completed the work on the gorgeous, vibrant tail feathers. So so beautiful! The first image is a close up of the tail, the second progress image finally gives you an idea of the over all painting coming together now on the home stretch. You can watch a short time lapse clip of the detailing on the tail feathers here

heidi willis_Black cockatoo Tail_watercolour_bird painting

black cockatoo_Bird painting_watercolour_Heidi Willis

Its extremely challenging work painting these feathers… with delicate shifts of colour and tone in the darkest end of the scale, our ‘blacks’ start to come together to create the body and wing of the black cockatoo. Closer closer… closer! Heres a studio shot of where Im currently up to.

heidi willis_watercolour_bird artist_cockatoo

Today I have completed the head feathers and the beautiful bright eye on the Black Cockatoo, bringing this commission to an end at last! You can see more of the head coming together in this short time lapse clip. I know its owner can’t wait to have it in their home… makes me happy 😀

heidi willis_watercolour_bird painting_black cockatoo

heidi willis_bird painting_watercolour_black cockatoo

Finally ~ Framing time, and my job here is done!

Heidi Willis_Bird Artist_watercolour_botanical

Thanks everyone ~ Heidi

© 2016 Heidi Willis. All rights reserved.