Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana)

Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana)
(Artwork - 128)
Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana)

One of the questions I'm most frequently asked about any painting is how long did I take to do it. This small painting of a pair of Green Kingfishers, took eighteen years, give or take a year or so. But that's because I started it when I was living in another part of Markham. Knowing I was going to move into another house in 1999 (and studio, really the master bedroom) I finished the two birds so I could return reference specimens to the museum and I also filled in the background immediately surrounding them and a little more…about half the painting…then stored it. I kept getting interested in new projects and every so often thought I should finish this painting, and finally, last spring, I did.

Kingfishers are among my favourite bird families to paint, I think in part because all species of kingfisher invariably have interesting shapes and patterns, are a size that is easy to do life-size (my preference) and tend to strike what are, to me, esthetically pleasing poses. But also they are vibrant birds, full of "attitude" and "character". They have loud voices and a significant "presence".

But there is only one species in Canada, the Belted, and a handful of other species in the Americas, all of which I have seen and painted at one time or another. Most species occur in Africa and the Austral-Asian region where they are enormously variable in shape, size, habits and behaviour, but all that I've encountered are still typically kingfishers and a delight to see and to paint. All have relatively tiny feet with two of the three forward toes fused at the base and a short hind toe, and can only sort of shuffle when on the ground. While not all species eat fish, all have strong, sturdy beaks, often, as is true of the Green, relatively long. Greens eat all manner of small, aquatic animals including insects, fish and small crustaceans.

The Green is one of four neotropical species that have a moderately iridescent, oily- green back and some degree of chestnut, at least in the male plumage, on the underparts. This is this an approximately life-size painting of a pair, the male is the lower figure, the female above. This species barely makes it into the U.S. along the Mexican-U.S. border, but the range extends well south to as far as northern Chile.

Typical of kingfishers in the western hemisphere they occur around streams, rivers, ponds, and make their nests at the ends of burrows dug into soil embankments. Both sexes dig the burrow, about a meter (3 feet) in length. Females incubate eggs at night, and share incubation with the male during daylight.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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