When I was young and an obsessive birder in training I traveled to a fishing lake not far from home. On the bank of the lake was a female Wood Duck with an injured wing. Up to that point I had only observed this shy species from a distance, and when I witnessed the surprising variety of colors on this close-range specimen I was fooled into thinking it was some exotic rare species that I couldn't identify in my field guide. Remembering that experience I wanted to create a painting that would introduce others to the true character of this "brown duck". They may be surprised to discover that this seemingly modest lady sports a brazen yellow eyeliner.
When the purpose of a painting is all about celebrating colors, it may seem counterproductive to choose a limited palette and nearly monochromatic color scheme. But doing so allowed what colors there were in the feathers to remain the highlight. I also chose to portray the duck from a sideways angle. In avoiding a direct pose I hoped to universalize the subject matter and make it into something to be “observed”.
So there she is, the female Wood Duck as I see her. Every bit as lovely in her own way as her strikingly-patterned male counterpart.