As an artist I spend a great deal of time contemplating the nature of color. What makes you walk past one flower but stop and stare at another? Why do you choose to wear the color clothes you do? To me, the funny thing about color is that despite all my thinking about it, its power over us really defies contemplation. We’re not moved because of how we study it; it just hits us.


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Mother nature has selected some of the most striking and impactful color combinations over many hundreds of millions of years, and she’s many steps ahead of those of us with lowly oils and brushes. I turned to nature for inspiration and found some of the best examples of color in native and exotic birds. I decided to create a series that was inspired by the best of them, ideally representing species found all over the globe.

This was as much a personal exploration for me – as I experimented with the way my mind’s eye perceives color – as it was an homage to these magnificent animals themselves. As I studied these creatures, I was fascinated to learn that some have visual acuity far more advanced than ours. That they are capable of perceiving colors we can’t even see. What would these ‘undiscovered colors’ look like? What words could we even use to describe them? I was also saddened to learn how severely threatened many of these species’ habitats are, about the grave danger they face due to deforestation and climate change. I hope this series brings some attention to the precious jewels we share this planet with and the dire need to help protect them.

I’ve chosen to feature authentic photographs of these unique birds next to my paintings so viewers can appreciate the original subjects juxtaposed with my interpretation of them. There are a total of 10 paintings, all done on stretched canvas with acrylic and heavy oil. I hope you reflect and enjoy!

Peace,

Shalimar

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Painted Bunting

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Inspiration, Painted Bunting

Image credits: Wikimedia

Nicobar Pigeon

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Inspiration, Nicobar Pigeon

Image credits: Wikimedia

Eurasian Jay

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Bird of inspiration, Eurasian Jay

Image credits: Wikimedia

Flame-faced Tanager

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Bird of inspiration, Flame-faced Tanager

Image credits: Wikimedia

European Roller

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Bird of inspiration, European Roller

Image credits: Sumarie Slabber

Hildebrandt Starling

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched.

Bird of inspiration, Hildebrandt Starling

Image credits: Wikimedia

Resplendent Quetzal

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Bird of inspiration, Resplendent Quetzal

Image credits: Wikimedia

Rufous-Backed Kingfisher

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Bird of inspiration, Rufous-Backed Kingfisher

Image credits: Wikimedia

Southern Carmine Bee Eater

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Bird of inspiration, Southern Carmine Bee Eater

Image credits: Bob Gunderson

Paradise Tanager

Acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Bird of inspiration, Paradise Tanager

Image credits: Nathan Rupert