Margaret O’Toole’s Watercolour Animal Collection

This is the slide show we have been waiting for. Margaret has put together her animal collection of water-color paintings for the Habitat Center for the Arts.

This is a vivid and exquisite interpretation of both native Australian animals and birds and some exotic animals from around the world.

Margaret’s depiction of the Bengal Tiger is one example of this. This is a vivid and intense painting of this beautiful animal.

The bird of Paradise shown in strong greens and blues is another non-indigenous creature to Australia, but is native to New Guinea just to the north of Australia.

Although the lama is not native to Australia, many can be found in the farming setting around Australia as it is a good producer of wool and other commodities. Many enjoy this animal as a domestic pet on their small country land holdings or small hobby farms.

Pelicans are very common on the Central Coast of New South Wales where Margaret lives. Other birds such as the magpie are also common.

A bird found on the Central Coast, the Sooty Owl, is one of our rare and endangered species. A smaller sooty owl is also found in North Queensland. It is unclear which owl Margaret has painted although one might guess that it is in fact the northern Queensland species.

Another bird found on the Central Coast is the secretive Tawny Frogmonth. A member of the owl family it hunts at night. If you are observant you may be lucky enough to see one in its day roost, however due to its grey mottled plumage it tends to blend into the foliage in its roost trees. It is called frogmouth because its beak and face plumage makes the bird look like it has the mouth of a frog.

Margaret has depicted cranes in one of her water-colors. This caricature is not of the Australian cranes which include the Sarus crane, one of the subspecies found in India and Asia, that can be found in far northern Queensland, nor is it of the Brolga found more widely only in Australia’s north and east. Margaret has specifically painted these cranes to depict the ancient Chinese and Japanese symbols of happiness and long life.

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The Tasmanian Devil, Echidna and Platypus are three iconic Australian species depicted in this collection. Much more known around the world as iconic Australian species are the Koala and the Red Kangaroo, both painted by Margaret in animated poses.

Other less iconic Australian animals and birds included are the brush tail possum and the lyre bird. Possums are relatively common in bushland settings at night on the Central Coast and the lyre bird Margaret took inspiration from lives in the bushland around one of the community meeting places where Habitat Association members often meet.

It is clear that Margaret also likes dogs. Included in the collection is a king Charles cavalier, German shepherd and bearded collie.

Lastly, Margaret has painted for the collection several birds commonly seen around the Central Coast of New South Wales during the spring and summer months. The galah, the sulphur crested cockatoo and the rainbow lorikeet.