Salmon Crested Cockatoos and Green Parrot

Salmon Crested Cockatoos and Green Parrot

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48" x 65" unframed

55" x 72" framed

© SHELLEY HESSE 2015

watercolor, gouache, pencil, ink, and pastel on paper
 

This piece came to me in a dream of countless parrots nesting in a giant tree blooming with peonies.  The birds all chatted and sang, and the light came through the tree turning it blue in some places, a soft sage green in others.  My hope was to capture a feeling of happiness and elegance so particular to these birds, and to perch each one of them in a way that you may feel each personality and soul coming through.

The white cockatoo, also known as the umbrella cockatoo, is found in the tropical rainforest on islands of Indonesia.  The white cockatoo is considered Endangered by the IUCN and is listed appendix II of the CITES list which gives its protection by restricting the capture of wild-caught birds. 

The green parrot is much larger than the green parrots that crowd the palm trees of New Orleans, but nevertheless was inspired by their happy chitter chatter that you so often hear when walking beneath them.

And finally, the salmon-crested cockatoos are of course based on the Moluccan cockatoo, a cockatoo to eastern Indonesia.  It is among the largest of the white cockatoos, with the female usually growing larger than the male.  It is a vulnerable species and has been listed on the appendix I of CITES since 1989.  Their numbers declined due to illegal trapping for the cage-bird trade and habitat loss.  During the height of the trapping of this species, over 6,000 birds were being removed from the wild per year.  We are so fortunate in New Orleans to have two of these spectacular birds at our Audubon Zoo.  They were of course the inspiration for the two in this piece.

“The language of birds is very ancient, and, like other ancient modes of speech, very elliptical: little is said, but much is meant and understood.”
- Gilbert White