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

"Okarito Kotuku II"

Pastel on Clairfontaine Pastelmat (700 x 1000mm)

Original available at Bryce Gallery, Christchurch

A second trip to Okarito in the space of a year, warranted a second Kotuku painting. Okarito is a quaint little seaside village on the West Coast. We were lucky to see the beautiful Kotuku (white heron) and Royal Spoonbills nesting. An early bird tour with Swade and Paula of Okarito Boat Tours, was rewarded by the incredibly still morning with Mount Cook and the southern alps as a backdrop, along with sightings of both the Kotuku, Spoonbills and other birdlife. It was a magical morning, and was made even more special by getting a close encounter with the majestic Kotuku while he was busy preening himself, what a privilege!

I always feel privileged to see the Kotuku in person, such a magical graceful bird especially to see it in flight. Only 20 pairs of nesting white herons remain in New Zealand. In Maori oratory, the most telling compliment is to liken someone to Kotuku, it symbolises everything rare and beautiful.

You can read more about the Kotuku on the
New Zealand Birds website.

Open Edition Giclee Prints A4, A3 & A2
& Fine Art Cards now available

Okarito Kotuku white heron scratchboard art by New Zealand Wildlife Artist Karen Neal

Close detail of the scratchboard work

Framed with myself to show the scale of the painting

Okarito Kotuku framed pastel painting by New Zealand wildlife artist Karen Neal

A video from our trip can be seen on YouTube, features the early morning boat trip into the Okarito Lagoon where the reference photo for this artwork was taken (as per photos below). On this trip, we also visited the protected nesting site of the Kotuku and Royal Spoonbill (after an amazing speed boat trip down the Whataroa River!) This was during a 2 week road-trip right around the South Island with fellow artist from Wales, Chris Chalk. Starting in my hometown of Marlborough, heading down the West Coast, down to the beautiful Fiordland, over to Stewart Island, and travelling up the east coast via the Caitlins, Lake Ohau and Kaikoura. We both took 'a lot' of photographs, and we had some wonderful adventures. I'm sure there will be quite a few artworks produced between us from that trip!

NB: You can view 'fullscreen', and If you wish to view in High Definition, click the HD button on the settings (cogwheel). Enjoy!

Taking photographs of the Kotuku on Okarito Lagoon

Taking photos of Kotuku (white herons) at Okarito LagoonWhite heron reference photo taken at Okarito Lagoon

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