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Groove-Billed Ani Drawing by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "Pijui"
26 x 16"
Graphite & Nero Pencil on Crescent Watercolor Board
Groove-Billed Anis

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When I first spotted one of these remarkable birds peering out from the cover of a dense shrub, I almost dismissed it is a remnant of a black plastic trash bag. The shape of these birds is so unusual that it can come as a real surprise in the field, even to me, despite the fact that I have observed Anis before in Trinidad. There is something wonderfully exotic about their long, stiff tails and heavy, parrot-like bills, something that harkens back to the primordial past, when pterosaurs ruled the skies. I soon identified these as Groove-Billed Anis (Crotophaga sulcirostris), Garrapatero Pijui in Spanish, named for their primary vocalization, which to some ears sounds like “Pi! Jue.”

I was frustrated in my initial attempts to acquire good reference material of these fascinating birds, but lucked out later on when a group of four adults landed in some open-limbed trees not far from me. I had to struggle under a barbed-wire fence (all the while reciting in my head how to explain my reason for trespassing in Spanish) and stalk through the scrub to get within reasonable range, but I was rewarded for my persistence with the photographs that allowed me to pursue this piece. Because the Anis are all black in color, and because their unusual form is far and away the most interesting thing about them, and any color might well prove a distraction, I chose to work in a black and white palette.

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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