Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Splashes of Colour

Here are some of the small birds and colourful plants that I saw on my visit to the Bloedel Conservatory at the beginning of January.
Rainbow Finch

The small birds are fascinating to watch, perpetually in motion, calling, eating, flying and singing. Even the tiniest of birds feels safe hopping around on the walkway between the visiting feet.

Red-billed Quelea
'Yes,' I answered you last night;
'No,' this morning, sir, I say.
 Colours seen by candle-light
Will not look the same by day.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Silver Pheasant


Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch

Red-billed quelea

Zebra Finch

Society Finch

Gouldian or Rainbow Finch
The Rainbow Finches are so colourful, as if someone has just finished dabbing them with every colour in their paintbox.

Chinese Pheasant

Rainbow Finch

Rainbow Finch and Zebra Finch

"Painting is a mosaic of colors weaved into a seamless whole." 
Igor Babailov

"Colours are brighter when the mind is open."
  Adriana Alarcon

This bird was looking at me and at the last second was distracted by something above it.

Orange headed Ground Thrush

Society Finch

Japanese White Eye
"Colors speak all languages." 

Joseph Addison

Colourful cactii and beautiful orchid.

-on trying to paint a pale blue sky...
"I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colors. 
I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns."

Winston Churchill

This is a view from under the foliage, the effect is created by coloured spotlights.

I only saw these pigeons once, they all (7 or 8 of them) flew in to the water basins, drank, posed and then were gone.

Pied Imperial Pigeons
"All colours will agree in the dark."

Francis Bacon

"Color is the fruit of life." 

Guillaume Apollinaire

I couldn't agree more!

Here is a short amusing video called "For the Birds":

I have been splashing a lot of colour around lately in my studio. Here are two watercolour paintings I have finished this week (both Italian scenes):

This one is of statues in Montepulciano:
"I was just Kidding!"

And this one of buildings on the elliptical central piazza in Lucca:
"Lunchtime in Lucca"

I have a show of my latest paintings, starting this weekend and lasting until the end of March, at Pane E Formaggio (4532 West 10th Avenue). See the paintings and details at Gillian Olson Art

That's all for this week, thank you so much for dropping by and Happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week.....


  1. What a wonderful place to visit. The colours in nature are stunning.

  2. your paintings look like photos! wow!

    years ago, in another life, i raised lady gouldian finches, zebra finches and society finches (those are your white and brown unknowns) plus a few cockatiels and assorted birds.

    i love those pigeons!

  3. WoW gillian, these are really beautiful and excite me to no end!!

    i love seeing orange in birds, an amazing color and so under-rated.

    have you ever seen the movie "the big year"?? i watched it recently and loved it!! it's for bird lovers only but none-the-less a great movie for us birdies!!

  4. Nice birdies, and my compliments on your paintings, superb.

  5. Your paintings do look like photographs. Love all the birds, so colorful. Oh I hope to be in Vancouver end of March, love to see your show.

  6. So many gorgeous Birds. You are right about that rainbow finch. It looks like someone took a paintbrush to him. So pretty.. Your painting look amazing.


  7. What gorgeous birds and a huge range of different colors! Excellent shots!

  8. Your post is so beautiful with all those bright colors on birds and flowers. The only one of those birds I have seen in the wild is the Zebra Finch. I saw flocks of them when I visited western Queensland a couple of years ago and like lots of small birds they moved so very fast it was hard to get a good photo of one sitting still.

  9. That journey was worth every penny of the entry fee wasn't it?

    What amazing birds, so colorful.


  10. I am always amazed at the pictures you take. You manage to catch the beauty of nature in such unigue settings. I love your new paintings Gillian!

  11. Adding splashes of colors to the wintry world with the colorful birds is a good idea. My favorite is the canary color. Your painting is so nice.


  12. I thought your paintings were photos! They are amazing.

    And your photos are gorgeous - I really enjoyed these feathered splashes of colour.

  13. There are Gouldian Finch in the wild in Australia - now that would be a thing to see!

    Stewart M - Melbourne

  14. To an artist's eye, those colourful birds must have been a treat indeed. I didn't know about the Bloedel centre before your mention of it. Beautiful painting as well. Wishing you well on your upcoming show. :)

  15. The birds are so flamboyant and beautiful. Wonderful post.

  16. Many of the birds are so colourful they don't seem real to me. I guess I'm more used to shades of brown and grey. Though cardinals and blue jays are very colourful, so perhaps it's just that they are exotic. :)

  17. Some of the birds in the world are outrageously beautiful.
    Great post.

  18. Amazingly-colourful selection of birds, Gillian. The light you have captured is lovely. Will take a look at your art blog.

  19. WOW!! I didn't realize there were so many colourful birds there. I haven't been there for years. You did get some lovely shots.

  20. The Rainbow Finch or Gouldian Finch is another colourful Australian bird. I've never seen them in the wild but they sure are beautiful.