Australian artist Nicky Shelton uses amazing detail in her expressive and captivating portraits of birds. See more of her art by visiting her website.
I am a painter of birds. Australian birds mainly, but not exclusively. My chosen media is oil paint, as it gives greater depth and nuance for the delicate detailing of each bird’s feathers. I also think it brings them to life more so than other mediums.
I describe my style as “contemporary realism” as I do not wish to change the beauty of my subjects but bring them into focus against contemporary backgrounds. Some are situational such as a sea eagle hunting or a cockatoo enjoying a snack.
Others are portraits where the subject sits regally and is almost posing for the piece like the royalty they are.
My goal with each piece is to have it jump from the canvas into the viewer’s own reality.
Attention to detail through brushes of not much more than three fibres allow me to not only highlight the intricate detailing of feathers and contrast of light and shade, but to capture the character of each bird.
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Bird species are highly intelligent, and each has its own personality. Some smile at you, others look coy or quizzical, demanding or subservient. The range of emotions they evoke never fails to amaze me.
From as early as I can remember I would walk around with a crayon, pencil or paint brush in hand. A career in corporate recruitment gave me deep insights into human personalities and emotions. I find that I relate to these with my feathered friends, recognising their quirky characteristics and charismatic charm.
I have always loved birds, and feel blessed to live in the South West of Australia where we have a wonderful variety of bird life that changes through the seasons.
Many endangered species live only in our special part of the world. I do my little bit to help protect them, with a percentage of every original painting sold being donated to Birdlife Australia.
At this point I have won a few awards, been jury selected as a finalist in a number of prestigious competitions and had a successful solo exhibition. I can probably no longer call myself an emerging artist—but there is much more to come.
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