Tūī capture people's hearts and minds like no other. Have they enchanted you? What stories have they told you?

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Detail: "From Whence Cometh Evil (tūī)"
Hi <<First Name>>

"Unfurling"As soon as I started creating bird art I was asked "when are you going to do a tūī?" As a photo-artist, this isn't so easy because first I need to get the photos and you can't just ask a bird to sit right there and strike a pose. But eventually the stars aligned and "Unfurling" unfolded and quickly became my most popular print. And still the requests for more tūī came... So I turned my attention from my beloved kākā and spent more time searching for magic moments with the best-dressed boys of the NZ forest.

And after many hours of spending time with tūī, I came to see so many subtle differences among them. Each lacy nape is like a fingerprint, each poi is a fasion statement - some neat and tidy,  some worn more jauntily. And their colours! Not just black and white, but glorious shimmering shades of blue and green, with touches of purple and even gold.

I asked them for their stories. And they answered with dark, gothic tales of loss, defiance, colonisation, foreboding, and reclamation. The tales are still coming, but now is the time to let you in on some of their inner secrets. Stay tuned on Facebook or Instagram this week as I unveil these new works, or if you'd just like to see everything all in one place, jump ahead here.

There is something about the tūī that resonates with people, more so than other more iconic birds it seems. Whether it's their colours, their personalities, their vocal gymnastics, their ubiqituousness in many regions (thanks to predator control), tūī capture people's hearts and minds like no other. Have they enchanted you? What stories have they told you?

Detail from: "I Shall Ride Every Storm", "At What Cost Forever", "From Whence Cometh Evil", and "Sad Wings of Destiny"
What's coming up in August...
  • 10-11 August: Te Kāhui Hōrapa Taiao - Conservation Communicators Aotearoa Hui. About a year ago, I set up a Facebook group with Eeva Kumpula and Kimi Collins to network conservation comms folk in NZ, and now with 450 members the group is holding a hui at Zealandia. I can't claim any credit for organizing any of it, but am looking forward to learning about how to advocate for wildlife in new and engaging ways. There are special rates for volunteers and scholarships available too, if you're interested in joining us.
  • "The spy" an embellished limited-original24-29 August: Canvas 200 at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts. Canvas 200 is a cool fundraiser with each artist donating a small 200x200mm canvas or two, which is then randomly given to attendees at the Gala evening on 29 August. So much fun, and a chance to experiment. Yes, one of my canvases will be featuring the tūī... this embellished limited-original print is over-painted with pearlescent shimmery inks - magic!
  • Hannah sketching the details in a tūī wing25 August: Sketch-artist Hannah Shand will be back at Zealandia doing a live sketching session of her latest bird. Her first solo exhibition is currently showing in the Zealandia gallery through to the end of August - it's well worth a visit. Appropriately, in this photo she's drawing a tūī!
Some of my most favourite black-and-white works appeared in the latest Artists Down Under online magazine. For more photo-art inspo, do take a look.
Matariki the whale diving into Wellington Harbour showing off its fluke
Between southern right whale visits and diurnal kiwi pukupuku, we have been spoiled for choice for amazing wildlife photo opportunities in Wellington recently
My apologies if you're not a tūī fancier! I'm sure by next month I'll be back in kākā-land :)
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