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My Collection of Kingfisher Paintings
Electric blue and accented in bright orange, kingfishers are undoubtedly Britain’s most striking birds. This art collection follows an intensive study of their behaviour, during which I filmed kingfisher chicks inside their underground nests.
Paintings Inspired by Kingfishers
The sight of a kingfisher is often no more than a fleeting flash of blue as it darts along a riverbank and so in order to study this bird closely for this collection of detailed paintings, I set up a hide to photograph them as they fished, courted and even nested. Below are two paintings informed by these intensive studies.
Paintings Inspired by Kingfisher Courtship
From my hide, I also watched the unusual courtship behaviour of kingfishers. Normally solitary, these birds come together somewhat reluctantly to mate, and their rituals of feeding and displaying can be quite tense to watch.
In this painting, the male dives into the water to catch fish for his intended. This composition is a departure from my usual style since it captures the intense energy as the kingfisher lifts out of the water leaving behind a tremendous splash.
For the painting below, I also chose to capture the action as a male offered a gift of fish to the female. This is an important part of their courting ritual. If you don’t know the difference, female kingfishers have a smear of orange along their lower bills, like lipstick.
Paintings Inspired by Kingfishers Nesting Underground
The painting below was inspired by watching kingfishers in their dark underground nest. I built an artificial nest alongside my hide so that I could watch this secret moment and my film of the chicks was the first colour footage of its kind.
Inspired by Kingfisher Chicks
After watching the kingfisher chicks hatch inside their dark nest, I followed their story to see them as they took their first flights. The painting below was inspired by these fledglings:
Paintings Inspired by Watching Kingfishers in Winter
I continued to study kingfishers all year round and the following painting was inspired by watching one in the depth of winter. This is when kingfisher pairs break up to continue their solitary lives. In the composition below, I perched a male kingfisher alone on a frosted hawthorn branch.
The painting below features a female kingfisher fishing from rushes along a riverbank. I chose this colourless backdrop so that the bird’s electric blue would sing out all the more brilliantly, as is the case on a dull winter’s day.
Paintings of Kingfishers: A Change in Style
The following artwork is one I painted some time ago, note how the style is very different to my later works.
Click on the link below to read about my kingfisher studies:
Author: Robert E Fuller