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Cassowary – be cass-o-wary!


Painting of an endangered rain forest cassowary using gouache resist technique, 50x50cm, framed in a black float frame and ready to hang.

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Cassowary – be cass-o-wary!

The cassowary is the third largest bird in the world and allegedly the most dangerous. Given that there are only 4600 cassowaries left in the wild, it seems to me that we are more of a danger to them, than them to us. We went in search of them and were lucky enough to spot one crossing a road in a monsoon downpour. Who cares about the rain? We had seen a cassowary!

This painting aims to celebrate such a striking bird. As they walk you can see that they are descended from the velociraptors! They really are like living dinosaurs and that’s without even noticing the 5 inch long claw on its foot. Cassowaries are one of the closest living species to dinosaurs and one of the key visual features is the casque on its head. The purpose of the brown helmet thingy is not known but there are theories.

Some think that it is like an antenna and picks up the vibrations of other cassowaries in the area or that it is a shock-absorber that protects the head as they butt their way through thick rainforest. Maybe it just indicates dominance. Either which way, they are very striking and utterly entrancing.

You could invite a part of the rain forest into your home.

This painting is produced using an intriguing technique which results in the woodblock print feel of the image. First it is painted in gouache, then coated with Indian ink. After that it is washed off under water to reveal the cassowary. The water soluble gouache washes away and the ink stays put. I felt it gives a feeling of the age of the animals and landscape and I hope you agree. They lay huge pea green eggs, and the male looks after the eggs and chick.

This painting of the cassowary was then mounted on a birch wood panel and waxed. It is framed in a black floating frame and is strung ready to hang. The painting is 50x50cm