Often artists use photographic material for inspiration

Painting by Margaret O’Toole

Article by David Holland

One of my passions is taking photographs of animals and birds.Taking photographs and finding a great composition is often a fluke when taking birds.

I have the fortune of having a very versatile camera, one that can zoom into a target and snap away giving close up shots of the birds, but the bird has to be posing in the right way.
An artist on the other hand can be choosy about the composition of the painting and choosy about the photograph they might use. The photograph has to hold some attraction to them for them to spend time working for several hours on their work.

Although artists can have the skills to copy exactly the photograph, I believe that good artistry is the ability to interpret the photograph. By using the photograph as an inspiration often a much more emotionally effective work results.

This is what I believe Margaret has done with this photograph of mine.

I was fortunate enough to find this Australian Darter in a pose drying his wings. Have you ever heard the expression, ‘like a shage on a rock’, well now you have seen one. This expression usually is said when someone is dripping wet.

Australian Darter and Caspian Tern

Australian Darter and Caspian Tern

The Australian Darter dives into the water, wings swept back to hunt for fish similar to a cormorant. I have seem them while kayaking on a nearby river to my home doing just that or sitting on a branch over the water or on a rock drying out.

The other bird is a Caspian Tern. This one is non breeding, but during breeding season the bird has a black cap of feathers on its head. It would be the biggest tern in Australia at 53 cm long for an adult and like all terns swoops and drives for fish.

Margaret’s interpretation of the birds has softened the look of the two birds in such a way as to make them feel as though they would be excellent cute and cuddly pets.

Darter and Caspian Tern

Darter and Caspian Tern

They are sitting on the rocks on a large salt water lake enjoying each others company.
She said the paining was a bit of a challenge in that she found that the paper she was using soaked up the paint more than she expected, perhaps giving this softer look.