to observe with a steady gaze

copyright megan spiers

Black-shouldered Kite (Petroica rodinogaster)

copyright megan spiers
To Observe with a Steady Gaze by Megan Spiers 2011
Oil on linen, size 25.5 cm x 30.5 cm
SOLD – private collection, kakadu, northern territory


When Black-shouldered Kites hunt, it’s like an elegant dance.

Their fluttering hover, quick swoop and dive can be witnessed in the hilly paddocks near Camden, not far from the urban sprawl of Western Sydney. But they are best observed away from city lights, as in the arid saltbush landscape of the Hay Plain or tropical woodlands of Kakadu National Park.

Black-shouldered Kites have a restless, watchful habit. Their crimson gaze is piercingly direct. They hunt despite gusting winds and swirling dust.

My earliest close encounter was walking along a bike-path as a child in Jabiru, Kakadu National Park. Emerging from a tunnel, I glanced up to find the sharp gaze of a Black-shouldered Kite locked onto me. Perched in a dead tree, even from a distance its eyes were a shock of brilliant red. It’s the closest thing to feeling like prey…

artist’s process

  • linen has a strong texture with linear fibres that enhance the art
  • I often use a clear primer, leaving the linen in its raw state

    work in progress - tonal painting over pencil sketch
    work in progress – tonal painting over pencil sketch