Parrot Lick

Watercolor.  "Steamy Silence"  This is a composition from photos I took at a "parrot clay lick" in the Yasuni National Park, Napo River of the Amazon basin in Ecuador.  At a clay lick, parrots eat the clay for the mineral content that neutralizes toxins in a nutritious berry that they like. This clay lick was about a mile through the jungle to an observation blind.  It was very hot and humid and quiet.  There was not a lot of parrot activity.  Everyone was waiting for the scarlet macaw to come down out of the tree way above us, but it never did. 

I was not too impressed with this clay lick until as I did the painting I realized that the little alcove here was eaten into the slope by eons of parrots.  At another clay lick we went to, there were dozens of birds hopping about, gnawing at a big open knobby, orange clay slope like it was a chocolate Easter bunny. The  atmospheric site of the painting was more picturesque.  Although I have to say my point and shoot camera did a better job with that than the Nikons with the f600 lenses.  Once you get past a little fuzziness with the slow shutter times (there's the beauty of being able to paint a scene and improve it) there are some memorable scenes.    

I did this painting because I had to get it out of my system before I could do a parrot or macaw painting for a friend.  Once I thought of it I could not let it go.  Coincidentally, just as I finished it, the Brevard Zoo had an art exhibit, and this fit their nature theme perfectly. It was selected to exhibit but did not win anything.  Nonetheless, I like it because of the memories it holds.  That damn butterfly that just would not stop fluttering, the giant  ant that was 1 inch long, and the steamy silence.  

I have a whole vacation worth of paintings to do, as you might now guess. The Amazon, the cloud rain forest in the Andes slopes, about a dozen hummingbird species.  The kicker is the unforgettable trip to the Galapagos Islands.  Stay tuned.