I'm always amazed by how drawing with a simple pencil opens my eyes to beauty.
Here are two photos I took last year of Oona, the female rhinoceros hornbill at the Virginia Zoo. She's a remarkable bird and has a quieter, more sedate personality than her mate.
It was only when I started to draw her portrait that I noticed in real detail how beautiful she is:
- the sheen of her soft feathers,
- the brilliant orange-red inside her beak
- her long eyelashes (modified feathers)
- her rosy eye shadow
- the delicate way the tips of her beak meet
|Ryobi makes good use of the toys provided in the aviary.|
Ryobi's charm is one of the most beautiful things about him:
- his alert gaze at visitors,
- the brilliant ruby color of his eyes,
- his magnificent plumage in flight,
- his interest in his world - toys, food, Oona, passers-by
- the way he holds his beak in a smile
I don't get these drawings right all the time, of course! I haven't done justice to Ryobi's casque and will have to go back and enlarge it.
I'm hoping to put some of the beauty of these birds into an oil painting once the drawings are finished.
Rhinoceros hornbills live in Asian tropical forests along with moon bears and orangutans. Until their forest habitat is safe from burning for palm oil plantations, we risk losing these beautiful birds. For now though, there is hope as more people become aware of the threat and take action. That's beautiful too.