Peacock at Larmer Tree
Fine Art Watercolour Paper
Size: 300mm x 470mm
Original Painting Medium: Mixed Media
Scientific Name: Pavo cristatus
In 1989, I made my home/studio at the Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, Wiltshire. Larmer Tree Gardens form part of the Rushmore Park Estate which includes some of the most spectacular areas of the Cranborne Chase. The lodge in which I have lived for 25+ years has provided me with a wealth of wildlife, literally on my doorstep. With two huge windows looking out across the countryside, I have been able to watch deer, hares, birds, and bats, to name but a few – it is paradise and I have loved every minute of it.
There are also visits from the many peacocks residing in the Larmer Tree Gardens. During their daily walkabout, the peacocks and peahens parade through my garden and perch on the fence in order to preen themselves and watch the world go by. During the late summer months, the ‘regal entourage’ often included newly hatched peachicks, looking like miniature Chinese Mandarins. Adorned with a tiny crown they follow Mum, copying her every move.
Male peacocks are extremely handsome birds especially when in full feather. The feathers of the resplendent elongated green train are dotted with bronze, blue and green eye spots. The iridescent colours change with the light. During the courtship performance; in the company of peahens, the peacock spreads his magnificent train and whirrs his feathers. The females often seem quite unimpressed and given the chance will walk away. The males, undeterred, will then display at anything close by, or that moves. They are not fussy!
In my gouache and watercolour painting of a ‘Peacock at Larmer Tree Gardens’, I did not wish the background to distract from the peacock and incorporated peacock colours to frame the subject. I painted, alla prima, an Italian phrase that means ‘at first attempt’. It refers to a wet-on-wet approach whereby wet paint is applied to previous layers of still-wet paint, often in a single sitting.