Merritt Island, Florida
40.000 x 40.000 x 2.000 inches
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Painting - Acrylic On Canvas
Red Eye 40" diameter acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.I watched this beautiful creature clambering among the gnarly mangrove roots with seeming ease despite his somewhat ungainly appearance. Because he was such an unusual looking bird, I painted his portrait on an unusually shaped canvas. He didn't seem to warrant an ordinary square or rectangular box. This is a life-sized portrait of him on a round beveled stretched canvas. This painting won the People's Choice Award for the Viva Florida 500 Competition presented by the Strawbridge Art League at the Melbourne Beach Library April 2, 2013. This show was to celebrate the history and natural beauty of Florida 1513-2013.
I have observed these pink birds for years in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. This is at BlackPoint. I have painted and photographed here for nearly thirty years and know the inhabitants quite well. It is near the Kennedy Space Center.
As I watched him clambering around the obstacle course, I realized that he was oblivious to my presence. I was really just a few yards away. I sat quietly for a good long time and marveled at his beauty. As the day grew long and the sun began to set, his pink feathers seemed to glow with an etherial radiance that was magical. It was almost unreal. I wonder if he sees the world in red with those brightly colored eyes?
The scientific name for the Roseate Spoonbill, pronounced �ah-EYE-ah ah-YA-ya,� is the latinized version of a Brazilian Amerindian name. Sunch unusual nomenclature well suits a bird of such fantastical color and shape, Lie most products of evolution, however, the spoobill's strange physiognomy works well in the bird's habitat.
The flattened, spatulate-shaped bill is used to feel for and capture crustaceans and fish as the bird wades in relatively shallow water. At one point, early in the 20th century, feather hunters had so decimated this species that less than three dozen Roseate Spoonbill survived. Populations have responded well to subsequent conservation efforts.
January 30th, 2012
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