Did I tell you that I am crazy for pigeons? Ah well – probably a thousand times. But honestly – they make such wonderful painting models and with thousands of photos it is not so difficult to find a couple of wonderful painting motifs – if I only could decide where to start first…

This time I decided to give Pete (who went over the rainbow on the 19th of February this year) another memorial in his role he loved most: being a father. More than any other pigeon I “met” so far was so in love with his kids and not even only his very own – he also took loving care for his grandchildren Pina and Peppi. It really hurt to watch him how he cared for them with so much love. Incredible.

I miss you so much Pete. I will never forget you. I feel blessed that you decided to share a part of your life with us, on the balcony. It sure had a huge impact on my own life… It will never be the same without you, Pete…

Btw – the little chap with the funny hair-do is Willy, Pete’s first son and our first pigeon baby we had the luck to get to know and watch how he grew up. An experience that I can only recommend to any person who has a heart for animals. It will change your life! And for those, who do not like pigeons at all, you will definitely change your mind – forever!!

 

All feral pigeon babies have a hair-do like this – isn’t it extremely funny????

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I cannot believe it but I am still working on the new pigeon painting The Philosopher. It has turned out to be much more complicated than I originally thought. But it is a nice challenge – and I love challenges.

I cannot remember any more how many different layers I have added to the plumage to recreate that very difficult iridenscent colours in green and purple. But it is coming along – slowly but soon it will be finished I think. Unfortunately the flash of the camera is not so very good in reproducing the correct colours – so I have to wait whether the scanner is better.

Here is now an update of the progress:

It looks more and more like Jimi and I am happy about it…

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First of all I decided to re-name the painting: it is called now The Philosopher.  Jimi has always been our little philosopher right from the beginning when he was still a little baby. Somehow he always liked to be alone, separated from the others. And he always seemed to contemplate on something whatever that might have been. He always had his secrets. He was the one who stayed on the balcony for the longest time after he was fully fledged and although he sometimes disappeared for a few days he always came back for his breakfast or little supper.

And then when he became so ill he came home again seeking help here which we gladly supplied. When he had recovered he did not show us step by step – from one day to another he suddenly was able to fly again and eat ba himself. So he totally suprised us. It was different with all our other patients who did excercising every day to re-gain their strength. Jimi was different. He showed us that he was healthy again just one day taking us by surprise.

Since then he has never missed a day to come back home again…

So today I worked on his lovely plumage:

He is a light grey pigeon with broad shoulders and he has a beautiful collar of iridescant feathers shimmering in a lovely green and purple colour. The challenge here is to re-create the moment when he appears on the balcony balustrade in a contre-jour light that creates something like a tiny halo around his body.

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Today I continued working on the 5th painting on my Pigeons series. It is merely a portrait of Jimi, one of our PMV survivors and a son of Pete and Emma, who live on our balcony. You can read about these stories in my Pigeon Tales if you like.

Jimi is such a sweet one, calm and often seems to be a bit lonely. Already as a baby he was different. He always tried to find a calm corner, did not like to be around all the others, kind of outsider. He often came intomy studio, flew on my easel and sat there while I was working on my computer.  A very affectionate little pigeon.

Then, in December before last year, he became very sick and we already thought that we might lose him. It was a PMV (Paramyxovirus) infection. I could hospitalize him before his seizures became really bad and he could not eat any more by himself. If he had not looked for help here he certainly would have died. He was only a shadow of himself and very depressed for two weeks. But then he got used to find himself closed in a box, being handfed 3 times a day and taken care of and slowly he started to recover. End of March Jimi could be released to gether with his big love Alice who had been our patient as well.

Since then he is doing well although at the moment he suffers from a large body tumor on his right side under his wing which will hopefully dry out soon and fall off. Poor little Jimi – he’s been through so much. Therefore I will call this painting “The Survivor”. (renamed to “The Philosopher”)

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After a long time being busy with other stuff and painting different things I went finally back to my pigeon series. It is inspiring to do something completely different in between – at least I feel I can continue better with ongoing themes when you can switch in the meanwhile.

Today I worked on The Gathering, an acrylic painting with Emma, Willy and Joey as models:

and here is a detail from the plumage of Emma and Joey’s face:

And if you would like to read about our feral pigeon family and what’s going on with them please check my diary/blog, the Pigeon Tales.

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I am currently working on the next painting for this new series and it will be called The Gathering. It will take some time though until I can present some wip – so you may see what I am up to.

Currently I am still spending a lot of time with my 3 sick pigeon family members: Pina, Willy and Jimi who are very dear to me. They need to be handfed 2/3 times a day, given fluid by a syringe, I need to clean the boxes several times etc. etc. But they are making progress – sometimes 2 steps forwards and then comes one backwards from time to time. But the direction goes right.

My new series is therefore getting quite a new dimension – I am living with pigeons, caring for them, dreaming of pigeons and working with them. And they are a big joy in my life despite all the work and time I need for them right now…

It is taking time – painting feathers is really a time consuming “job” but it is also entertaining and I am learning a hell-uva-lot about the consistency of feathers and how you can interpret them in colour. It looks in fact so simple but I realized it is quite tricky especially where you don’t have much different shades because the feathers are all white or all grey. The contours seem to disppear yet it is necessary to show their fluffiness and make them look 3-dimensional. Otherwise the whole painting looks completely flat.

Although I am working from a lot of photographs here I have realized that you need to know the bird, you need to actually see how the feathers grows and in which direction the bird can puff them up. I am watching Pete now since nearly 2 years and he surprises me again and again. And I am enchanted by his lovely plumage which he always keeps in utmost care and beauty.

And while I am observing “our” pijjies closely I have realized that the birds can make very well different face: Pete f.e. sometimes makes a funny face like in this protrait because he loves showering, sometimes he looks sad and depressed (especially in bad weather) and sometimes he looks really content – when he can take a sunbath.

This is defitnitely his funny face:

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There is still a lot of work to do and I try my best to really show his lovely plumage…

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