Wildlife paintings, portraits & pet portraits by New Zealand Artist Karen Neal

"Back from the Brink" (New Zealand Takahē )


Scratchboard (14x18in)
Original SOLD
(exhibiting at Tasman National Art Awards, Mapua
Saturday 28th September through to 4.30pm on Saturday 12th October)


The New Zealand Takahē is one of my most favourite birds, they are rather special and only found only in New Zealand.

By the late 1890's the takahē were considered to be extinct until they were rediscovered in 1948 in a remote Fiordland valley. Thanks to an intensive programme of captive breeding, spearhead by the Department of Conservation, the Takahē population has increased, we now have approximately 350 Takahe, and some are being returned to predator-free islands within New Zealand. It's an incredible story.

I'm a frequent visitor to Zealandia Eco Sanctuary in Wellington and very much enjoy spending time taking reference photos for my art as well as getting to hang out with our beautiful native birds. Zealandia have two resident Takahē birds who recently had a chick who was translocated. This is the beautiful female, Nio, from my own reference photo.

Because of their incredible history of their species being declared extinct, then being restored by our New Zealand conservation efforts, I decided to leave the artwork half monochrome, and half painted, as if the bird is evolving back through time from black and white to present-day colour.


Open Edition Giclee Prints available

New Zealand Takahe

The final artwork (above)

New Zealand Takahe Art

Work in progress: Prior to inking, the feathers are etched back to the clay, to allow painting

New Zealand Takahe Art

Painted with Daler Rowney iridescent and pearlescent inks, the photo doesn't show up the true shimmers of these beautiful inks

Frame in a beautiful Larsen Juhl Majorca moulding, with an inner black frame


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