The Hyacinth macaw is the largest parrot in the world and these big beauties have a large toothless beak that can break open the hardest nuts in the world (even a coconut). Unfortunately these friendly macaws are vulnerable and expensive to buy because of it but that has not stopped it from being one of my favourite animals.
What I loved about them is their gentle personality, deep cobalt blue feathers and regal appearance. The first picture I did tried to link them to the hyacinth plant.
This first picture has the beautiful bird out in the garden, a patch of pink hyacinths in the background and a binky ball toy next to the bird. It was not one of my best pictures but I am happy with how I captured the bird and the background was slightly better than my nesting Blue throated macaws in my opinion. If I was to improve it I would of had the bird play with the toy and maybe more dark greens to get away from the bright dreamy feel of the background.
This is my second attempt at the bird. This time I tried to base the background from a previous picture in a book I looked at. I love this picture more as the bird is bigger on the page and is excited (shown by the raised feathers on the head). If I was to do it again I would have used a pastel to achieve the background as the black was quite grainy on the paper.
The blue Indian peacock have captivated people for centuries. In his native country he is the steed of the God of war, kartikeya (to the worshipers of Shiva) and he is known as mayura in sanskrit, meaning “killer of snakes”.
It is not only India who has fabled the peacock as Westerns commonly used it in their design of the phoenix, the Chinese the Fenghuang’s tail. But Ancient Greeks linked the whole bird to the goddess Hera. In their version of the peacock’s origin, it was from her servant Argus (who was a many eyed cyclops), that the peacock had eyes on it’s train.
It happened through her trying to protect a cow from Zeus by having Argus watch the beast. But Zeus wanted her (like he did with many woman, much to his wife’s dislike) and Gods like him normally got what they wanted in those tales. He got to her by ordering Hermes to slay Argus, on which he succeeded with a stone and the dead giant’s eyes were then placed onto the peacock’s train by Hera. Thus that’s how they interpreted the peacock strange eye spots.
In my free time at College, I did my own peacock watercolour. I tried to get away from a blue sky as the head would not have stood out that much, so I did a bright sunny gold sky (the suns rays through the foliage).
I was happy about this picture as it looked like a peacock and although it was my first time with a peacock train, it wasn’t too bad. If I was to do it again I would have done the train better and with shadow and would have had less green at the bottom of the page so it would stand out more. there was a minor mistake with this picture and it was that the blue smudged into the white paper and when I tried to cover it with paint it ripped the surface a little.
I tackled the eyes of the tail by first mapping them out with the blue centre. Then filling in the pale pink of it and then circling the whole eye spots in bright green than dark. I feathered them bright green, than the whole train turquoise before finally adding the dark green feathers.
Birds of paradise have fascinated people for centuries. The birds were originally thought to have come from actual paradise. This was because the westerns got the bird skins with no feet or wings. As they never saw a real living bird; they asked the traders why they had no feet or wings, But they got the birds from another place so they themselves never saw the real birds and so they came up with at tale that dragon believing westerns would believe for many years: that they floated in paradise sipping dew from clouds. This is why they were called bird of paradise.
I had spare time after finishing my final major project at college a few days ago, so I thought I would pass the time doing a watercolour. My Nan’s favourite bird of paradise came to mind and that was the Blue bird of paradise I drew below.
I was quite happy with the blending of the tail plumes but unfortunately there were a few mistakes too. The biggest mistake was the peeling of paper around the eye and chin, this was due to me overworking that area. In the future I need to learn to leave those areas alone and to use masking fluid to keep areas white (like the eye ring on the female).
The original bird called Jewel does not and never has belonged to me and belongs to Blue Sky Studios.
The reason I have chosen to recolour the popular macaw character from the movies series Rio is because I have found that their birds have not represented the bird species they are based on well.
The bird they based their rare blue macaws on was the critically endangered Spix’s macaw. However, many fans have pointed out how the birds resemble Hyacinth macaws more than the Spix.
The Hyacinth, like the cartoon characters, is a solid dark blue and the Spix is pale blue, has a very pale blue head and grey facial patch. Therefore it is understandable why fans point this out. I myself am bothered by this and it is not the only character to be misrepresented as a background Blue and gold did not have a face patch at all.
Below and as the feature image is my correctly recoloured Spix macaw, Jewel.
The bird was easy to draw and took 2 days (one at evening and the next morning for better lighting for the feathers). I drew the body position from a real Spix macaw and then drew it in the style of Jewel from Rio. Overall I am happy with the outcome as it has become a pretty and accurate representation of the real bird in the style of my favourite character from the film and there is nothing I want to change about her. A problem I encountered was that with the colours I had it was really hard to colour in the pale head without it being too turquoise or dark.