Pretty in Pink, Part Two
Part Two: Painting
Who could argue with “a flamboyance of flamingos”? It ranks right up there with a murder of crows, a parliament of owls, and a wake of vultures. Capturing that flamboyance with paint is a challenge, and having good reference photos is a must. Fortunately, a computer search will yield hundreds of excellent photos. I find it essential to study these carefully and have the best ones close at hand when I’m painting.
One thing becomes evident very quickly—flamingos are not solid pink. While there is a lot of pink in the feathering there is also a whole range of brighter reds, oranges, and corals. The most intense colors appear to be in the head, cape, and tail regions, with lighter pinks in the side pockets and upper back. With flamingos, as with some other species, you really are what you eat. Flamingos are born with a gray plumage but their diet changes that. They feed primarily on algae and brine shrimp, and it is the beta-carotene in these that turns the feathers pink.