Sunday, September 14, 2014

I've completed the Brown Sicklebill painting. It's done with oils on canvasboard. The size is 80 x 60 cm.


















Here is the work in progress:



Saturday, August 30, 2014

I've started my first painting in oils based on the spring study trip to Papua New Guinea. Brown Sicklebill was one of the 10 bird of paradise species that I could study really well. It occurs at higher elevations, and we spent 1 week in the suitable habitat. Each morning I walked the 1 hour trek to the ridge above our camp, where I could find these birds together with another BoP species, the Stephanie's Astrapia.
The usual views were like this, birds feeding in the canopy:
















Its distinctive call helped to locate the birds (can be heard from 1 km). It mostly resembles a machine gun, and there are stories from the 2nd World War, when the occupying Japanese army got shocked by these calls. They thought they were under fire. Check out my video for the call:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvrPEGUGbw8

We had rain every day at these higher elevations:













 The first layer of the painting (my elder son's drawing of this bird to the right):

















Developing the mossy branches (typical habitat of the bird):

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

 The scenery was breathtaking along the Kokoda Trail. I made several landscape paintings, I show some here. 
 Panorama somewhere around the middle of the track:







One of our last stop was at Ioribaiwa village. I made several sketches here:














Heavy rainfall over the mountain across the valley:















Scene from Ower's Corner at the end of the 95 km long trail. I remember I hade to make a choice here. Whether to drink my spared water or use it for painting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Back to PNG. The leader of Isurawa village, Ivan Nitua knew a lot about birds in his area. He showed us the display site of a Magnificent Bird of Paradise:

















We quickly built a hide for me, where I spent several hours observing the behaviour of this fantastic bird:

















It was very unconfortable in the hide, but I managed to do a few sketches of the male:

























Here's a short videoclip of the bird:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddjRSHF_-M4&feature=youtu.be


Sunday, June 15, 2014

In the June issue of British Birds magazine there's a big article about the identification of Slender-billed Curlew. I've painted the illustrations for it.
You can see a taster on the magazine's webpage: http://britishbirds.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SBC-taster.pdf

Male and female from one of the plates:















I've always been fascinated by this species. Sadly it has a very sad sory, probably this is the first European bird that went extinct since the demise of the Great Auk. I'm extremely lucky having seen it once, back in 1996. I travelled through the whole country on night trains to twitch it on Hortobágy. It was long time ago, the memory is faded, but probably I will never have the chance again in my life.

In 2002 I won the identification category of Birdwatch magazine with a plate dealing  with the SBC. It was more than 10 years ago, so now I look at these paintings with very critical eye:
http://kokay.hu/lg_phat.jpg

I have several paintings depicting this species, trying to include their doomed fate on these.
The latest from 2010:














And an older version from 2001:















A flight 'shot':












 In Hungarian museums we have several specimens, so I had the chance to study them. Here are some feather studies:














I could even borrow one some years ago and put it in natural settings in the right habitat (in fact in the same area where the very last reliable sighting of this species happened in 2001):






















Monday, June 09, 2014

I had an exhibition in Scotland with my fellow artist friend, Jonathan Latimer. We went to collect the unsold works last week, and spent a week travelling around Scotland birdwatching and sketching. I will put some of my fieldwork on my blog.
Our first destination was the estuary of Ythan river. It has an oversummering male King Eider. We had amazing views of this amazing bird.
It is the first bird on the right:















It was resting with Eiders during high tide:



Sunday, May 25, 2014

I had a few hours before my flight back home. I spent this time in the Papua New Guinea National Museum & Art Gallery (http://www.museumpng.gov.pg/). The exhibition simply blow my mind away. As taking photos was forbidden, but there was nothing about making sketches, I brought my sketchbook with me. Here are some of the best exhibition pieces:

Cult figure (right) and a human figure devoured by hornbills:

















Wooden mask (had a cley-like quality):

















Wooden mask (was huge, some 1,5 m long):