Tuesday, 26 February 2013
'Flamingo' Silk painting (c) Tessa Spanton
Maybe I should rename this painting 'Female Flamingo applying Make up'
Prints and cards of this painting are available too.
It's that time of year when I start to send paintings off to exhibitions and this flamingo has just flown off to the Wow Gallery. I went to visit the garden at Chestnut Lodge Cobham one summer and took lots of photos of the flamingos on the lake there. I have also seen them wild in the Camargue in the south of France.
Some were standing around on one leg, some wading around together and from time to time seemed to be getting into arguments with each other. I was fascinated by the shapes they made and in particular this bird preening itself. The striking coral pink colour is derived from shrimps that they filter from the water to feed on. While writing this post I have discovered more abaout preening hence the alternative title at the top!
The birds spend a lot of time preening their feathers to keep them in good condition and to enhance the colour by rubbing their feathers with a wax that contains carotinoids. This comes from the preen gland. Females have been observed to apply the 'make up' more often than the males. more here