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

"Okarito Kotuku"

Scratchboard (18x24in) ORIGINAL SOLD

Okarito Kotuku white heron scratchboard art by New Zealand Wildlife Artist Karen Neal"Okarito "Kotuku" was placed second in the 2014 Peters Doig Marlborough Art Awards, Marlborough Yealands Estate Gallery. I was very humbled to hear Okarito Kotuku also won the Peoples' Choice Award.

A recent trip round the amazing South Island of New Zealand with the intention of taking reference photos of birdlife and wildlife for my paintings. Our first port of call was Okarito, 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, leaving us wanting to see more on that lagoon! I daresay we'll be back!!

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.

Limited Edition Giclee Prints & Fine Art Cards now available

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

Close detail of the scratchboard work

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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