oil painting… resplendent quetzal!

extraordinary exotic bird

extraordinary exotic bird

After painting the cardinals last fall, I wanted to try a more exotic bird species. There are some amazing birds out there! Since I had never seen one of these beautiful birds in the wild, I used a combination of a number of photos I found on line as a basis for the bird and the background. This site has a striking quetzal photo and some interesting information.

The quetzal lives in the canopy of the rainforest and a loves to eat wild avocados, so I am showing him (yes, it is a male quetzal) in that setting. The style is not completely  realistic but I have tried to show the quirky appearance of this bird and get something of the iridescent shimmer of the feathers. I may yet make some tweaks before I decide that the painting is finished and sign it (beyond the digital signature shown here).

Hope this brings some warmth to the winter deep freeze so many are experiencing!

UPDATE: New poem from Tom in the comments. It took longer than usual to get back to the right mindset for writing poetry that would match a painting of a quetzal. Happy you’re back in the mood – thanks Tom!

Beneath the empty tropical blue sky
beneath the canopy of hungry leaves
beneath the cloak of feathers brightly dyed
there beats a heart of peerless peace and ease
within a breast of red a coat might envy
below a head of strangely fuzzy green
above a tail that causes quite a frenzy
whene’er a milliner comes on the scene.
Yet high upon his branch the quetzal calm
surveys with dignity and steady gaze
gripping with uniquely trogon palm
well-hidden in the forest-foam of baize.
Such beauty isn’t made for human sight
but for his dowdy love in jungle night.

poem (c) 2015 TJ Radcliffe

painting (cc) 2015 Hilary Farmer

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7 Responses to “oil painting… resplendent quetzal!”

  1. Lots of depth. In peripheral vision, it feels like the background has a 3D quality to it. Impressive!

  2. Hilary, you have really captured the goofy essence of the bird…..good job! And thank you for reminding us all that there is a bird in the wild, resplendent in a longish green brush cut. What fun!

  3. Beneath the empty tropical blue sky
    beneath the canopy of hungry leaves
    beneath the cloak of feathers brightly dyed
    there beats a heart of peerless peace and ease
    within a breast of red a coat might envy
    below a head of strangely fuzzy green
    above a tail that causes quite a frenzy
    whene’er a milliner comes on the scene.
    Yet high upon his branch the quetzal calm
    surveys with dignity and steady gaze
    gripping with uniquely trogon palm
    well-hidden in the forest-foam of baize.
    Such beauty isn’t made for human sight
    but for his dowdy love in jungle night.

    Took me a while to find the right state of mind for this one. Lovely image! And what a strange looking bird! Quetzals are part of the order of Trognonformes, which are the only animals with a heterodactyl toe arrangement (the “uniquely trogon palm”) which has toes 3 and 4 pointed forward and 1 and 2 pointed back. Zygodactylic species, with toes 1 and 4 pointed back and toes 2 and 3 pointed forward, are much more common.

    • Thanks Tom! I am glad that eventually you were able to get into the right frame of mind for poetry.
      I don’t remember seeing a photo that shows the toes… Hence they are hidden in the painting!

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