Wild Cockatiels

Every painting is a process. A hand reaching out to catch a moment of inspiration. Swirls of wild birds in the mind of the artist land on the canvas. Swirls of pattern form behind them as they shape the scene.

“I never quite have a finished painting in mind when I start and this was no exception. Starting out with a completely black background I decided half way through to repaint the piece in shades of bright outback colours.

While half finished, I had the pleasure of taking a UK filmmaker out to visit my old home town of Wiluna, an Aboriginal community on the Edge of the Gibson desert. I rolled the canvas up with me and brought it in the car.

While we were there I was interviewed while I was painting this piece. It was shot in the red dirt, with a background of spinifex, mulga trees and a vast sky as the sun was setting. The flies were truly terrible but I couldn’t have felt happier being in the place I love most in the world and painting in the dirt. 

Filming in the Australian desert

I joked with Anne that I had witnessed many paintings which were done in camps on the ground, surrounded by fires, animals, children and the like.

When the painting is hung in a fancy gallery in Melbourne you never know what you may discover when you turn the painting over – you may even discover a set of red paw prints!”

Helen Ansell

Pet cockatiels are commonplace in Australian homes. To see a wild flock with the outback colours beneath them reveals the true spectacle of this bird in its flock.

Helen’s piece Wild Cockatiels appears to move before your eyes. Red dirt, grasses and the cockatiels swirl and dance like a wild flock of birds.

Wild Cockatiel

“The wild Cockatiel’s scientific name is Nymphicus hollandicus. They are a member of the cockatoo family endemic to Australia where they are found largely in arid or semi-arid country, but always close to water.

Largely nomadic, the species will move to where food and water is available. They often eat cultivated crops.

They are typically seen in pairs or small flocks, although sometimes hundreds will flock around a single body of water.

They are typically seen in pairs or small flocks, although sometimes hundreds will flock around a single body of water.

In the wild cockatiel’s plumage is primarily grey. It has long tail feathers roughly making up half of its total length. At 30 to 33 cm (12 to 13 in), the cockatiel is the smallest of the cockatoos.

They are relatively vocal birds. As caged birds, cockatiels are second in popularity only to budgerigars.”

Don Miller

Wild Cockatiels is now available for purchase as part of the Helen Ansell Fine Art Print Collection.

Wild Cockatiels Fine Art Print
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