Jerrabomberra Wetlands in the ACT is a wonderful bird-watching spot. I often go there to gather references and was lucky enough to photograph these stunning birds perched on a native bottlebrush. Fairy-wrens are incredibly quick and prefer dense cover, so I had to wait patiently for them to make an appearance a little more in the open, unfettered by dense cover and shadow.
I was undecided as to whether or not to depict both male and female, but eventually settled on painting two males, which provided a bit more "pop" to the overall colour and tonal scheme.
The multitude of narrow leaves took about 3 times as long as the birds to paint. Masking fluid makes life easier, but I cannot use it because it destroys the surface of museum board on removal. This only leaves one option: to paint around lighter areas in the traditional way. This sharpens technique unlike anything else!
Extremely dimorphic, male fairy-wrens moult into female-like plumage at the end of summer. Interestingly, only older males over four or five years old retain their nuptial plumage year-round.
56.75 hours to paint.
SKILL LEVEL: Medium
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