black-shouldered kite

To Observe with a Steady Gaze

Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)

Size 25.5 cm x 30.5 cm (10 in x 12 in)

Oil on raw linen, stretched, unframed


This painting was inspired by several Black-shouldered Kites that I observed hunting along the Sturt Highway, Hay Plain. The birds perch on fenceposts and anything vertical as they search for prey.

Their crimson gaze is striking and direct. Their habitual restlessness is focused and watchful despite the gusting wind and incessant swirling dust.

I like painting on raw linen. It has a strong natural texture that adds to the painted surface. Linear fibres encourage the viewer’s eye to travel down the canvas, enhancing the incredible sense of purpose emanating from this bird of prey.

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