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Brown Pelicans by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "Dive!"
Diptych, 1: 48 x 12" Panel, 1: 12 x 12" Panel
Overall Size: 60 x 12" Acrylic on Cradled Board
Diving Pelicans

�Dive!� is the culmination of many studies and experiments. Ironically, a painting of diving pelicans was among the very first pieces I resolved to do after visiting the National Marine Park in Cabo Pulmo, Mexico, yet it is one of the last pieces I have finished for the subsequent show, The Colors of Cabo Pulmo. Sometimes even good ideas need time to simmer. I had a lot of reference material to work from, and it was necessary to do a series of smaller works to narrow down my ideas in preparation for this larger composition.

There were two primary considerations in this piece, the first was capturing the color. Like anywhere there are oceans, the waters around Cabo can look dramatically different based on a variety of meteorological factors. During most of my visit, however, I was taken by the shifting between deep blue and aquamarine near the horizon, a beautiful green of varying richness closer to shore, and finally a subtle color like milk in green tea where the sand was suspended in the surf. I have not tried to describe the ocean here in objective terms, but rather to suggest this shifting of color and hue. At the top of the composition, the background is an abstract color field; only as we progress towards the more objectively painted splash in the bottom panel of the diptych does the texture of the water resolve from this matrix.

The second goal of this piece was to convey the sense of motion and the sequence of the diving bird. It can be read either as multiple birds diving or as a single bird captured in different stages of flight as in Muybridge�s famous Animal Locomotion series. The decision belongs to the viewer. Either way, I wanted to communicate the subtle hovering at the beginning of the dive and the precipitous motion that completes it, which is why the birds become looser as their forms streak past the viewer and down towards impact. There is something profoundly exclamatory about a pelican�s dive (nothing half-hearted or apologetic here), which is why a diptych came to mind. The two panels are meant to be hung on the wall like a giant exclamation mark, loudly proclaiming in turquoise and green: �Dive!� Ultimately, I hope I have achieved both of the goals I set out to accomplish, and completed a worthy emblem of The Colors of Cabo Pulmo.

Welcome to the online home for artwork by Andrew Denman, a California �based, internationally recognized, award-winning contemporary wildlife artist. Denman primarily paints wildlife and animal subjects in a unique, hallmark style combining hyper-realism with stylization and abstraction. His dynamic and original acrylic paintings can be found in museum collections on two continents and in numerous private collections in the USA and abroad. His clear voice, unique vision, and commitment to constant artistic experimentation have positioned him on the forefront of an artistic vanguard of the best contemporary wildlife and animal painters working today.
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