ostrich portrait

Ostrich portrait


I googled “whimsical animals” and spent a few minutes with the resulting images, all of which were paintings. I was struck by a couple of images featuring ostriches. It’s an unexpected animal: a bird so big, with the emphasis on legs and no ability to fly.

A search on “ostrich” led me to this image:


I don’t see whimsy in his gaze, just frank – somewhat exasperated – appraisal. Can I paint him whimsically?


during my first session, I painted a pink background and made the neck and head blue, trying to capture shape and depth, especially in the beak.

When I was satisfied with the naked bird, I added orange swirls to the background. This is an easy motion for me to make with my head and it strikes me as whimsical. I added purple and blue feathers over the next couple painting sessions. I used gold for the eyes and left catch lights (which in retrospect are a little bit wrong).


I’m happy with the finished product. The swirls do add whimsy to this exasperated bird.

Making the background the way I did allowed me to use it for the snippets that go in this month’s newsletter. It was fun to have new material to work with. It would be fun to do variations on this idea going forward.

Not only does painting make me happy (even when it’s physically tiring), but it keeps me immersed in the creative process. Facing the blank page and daring to make marks is good training for the way I want to live my life.


Posted on

September 2, 2019

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