Showing Off- Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos (Landscape)


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Sometimes the most interesting and wonderful subjects may be found right outside your front door. These two characters captured in the last rays of the afternoon sun, were raucously screeching and fanning out their spectacular yellow crests in a gum tree close to my balcony. Although gathering reference was easy in this case, painting white feathers was another challenge altogether. In watercolour, you leave the white areas unpainted, only painting the shadows. Added to this was the attempt to render the light filtering through translucent areas (such as the wing) and ensuring the shadow areas of yellow don’t appear a peculiar shade of green!

The word “cocky” has entered Australian slang. It refers to the cockatoo’s habit of one bird keeping a lookout for the other birds feeding on the ground. A “cocky” is a person keeping guard for sudden police raids on illegal gambling. 

Common in the north and east of Australia, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are both intelligent and long-lived. They produce a very fine powder to preen themselves with instead of oil as many other birds do. There are four recognised subspecies. 

166 hours to complete this painting.


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