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Lilac-Breasted Roller by Andrew Denman
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"The Rollout Crew"
24 x 36" Acrylic on Board
Lilac-Breasted Roller

There are plenty of birds with astonishingly exotic plumage that scarcely looks real, but the Lilac-Breasted Roller is among the most well-known. Anyone with the slightest interest in birds who has visited East Africa will undoubtedly remember these living gems. The commonness of rollers, however (I’ve seen far more than I can count in just two trips to Kenya), does nothing to dispel the magic of a good sighting. Generally seen singly or in pairs, these sturdy, lavishly colored birds punctuate their thorny lookouts and move across the endless blue sky like living artworks. Their intensely saturated indigo, turquoise, mauve, and rufus plumage seems designed specifically to drive bird-lovers to new heights of hysterical, unrestrained joy. A “Rollout Crew” is an entertainment industry term for the individuals responsible for rolling out the red carpet and otherwise making preparations for a major event. Certainly the Lilac-Breasted Rollers I encountered might well have been heralding any and all manner of fantastical experiences that Africa had to-and indeed did- offer to my eager senses. The initial inspiration for this piece was, unsurprisingly, the glorious color palette of the rollers themselves, but the concept, however simple, was not without its challenges. Minimalism like this requires extraordinarily careful positioning of the limited number of pictorial elements, and the compositionally unorthodox choice of two major focal points needed to be balanced out with the over-sized silhouettes. Ultimately, this echoing of forms and contrast of large and small volumes, high and low contrast, go a long way towards suggesting the rolling flight pattern for which these birds are known. The arrangement is beguilingly simple, effortlessly guiding the viewer’s eye where it needs to go without feeling contrived or predictable.

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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