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28 x 26 ˝"
Acrylic on Cradled Birch 2011
Orioles in African Tulip Tree
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On a recent trip to Mexico to obtain reference materials for an upcoming museum exhibition, I came upon a glorious African Tulip Tree growing on the grounds of the condominium complex next door to where I was staying. I was enchanted to discover that this tree was a favorite hangout for the local oriole population, a bird which I’d tried in vain to photograph in my native San Francisco Bay Area for years. At least one species passes through Northern California every year, but the visitation is brief and the birds are naturally shy, so all of my best efforts had come to naught. I spent many a frustrated hour in my Grandmother’s garden in Lafayette, watching flashes or orange and yellow high in the oak trees overhead, well beyond the range of my equipment, my abilities as a photographer, or even careful observation. But here were three species, Bullocks, Hooded, and Streak-backed, all in the same tree at the same time, their luminous orange hues shockingly close to the flame orange of the tulip tree flowers. Even with such a boon tantalizingly close, the birds were difficult to photograph, and I spent the better part of a morning camped out in close proximity, hoping they would become accustomed enough to my presence to venture into the lower branches.
My primary concern in this piece was, of course, the relationship between the orange of the birds and the complimentary blue of the sky. Stylistically, I chose to leave parts of the painting “unfinished” to suggest the fleeting nature of the encounter. The tendrils of color and undisguised brushwork in the background are the abstract distillation of this sense of temporality. There is a deliberate contrast between the airy delicacy of my approach, and the vivid, strident coloration of these marvelous birds.
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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