Thursday, March 5, 2015


Posted by: Kate

A new alla prima Icarus painting is up for auction:

This one is a society finch.  The dimensions are 5x7" for easy framing, and as ever, it is painted on dibond.  The auction can be viewed here.


  1. I love your Icarus series! Two questions:

    Where do you get all those dead birds and how do you preserve them?? I found a dead one and hung it up in my garage (I think my husband thought I had really lost it). I did take a lot of pics of it but then of course it started to decompose and I had to throw it away. I did research preservation methods but they all seemed rather labor intensive.

    How long does it take you to paint a small alla prima like this? Do you consider it more of a study? I am contemplating trying to do some of these maybe even at the local zoo but am rather daunted by it. Right now I paint in a very controlled way - either "Mische"-like or in egg tempera and am looking to push myself as a painter.

    1. Once I started painting dead birds, people just started giving them to me. I live in a semi-rural area so there's a lot of wildlife here. My parent's neighbours found me a fresh owl just the other week. I just toss them in the freezer until I'm ready to paint them. It's not a bad idea to put them into the pose you want before you freeze them.

      I generally get these paintings done in one or two sittings. Generally the bird only takes a few hours and it's the background elements that I struggle with. Working with a frozen bird gives me flexibility to paint it over an over again if I want to, because it doesn't have a chance to go bad.

      I started doing these alla prima paintings to push myself as a painter. They've been very rewarding and interesting. I don't consider them to be on a level with my gallery work, which is why I sell them on eBay. You'll have fun if you give it a try!

  2. Dear Kate,

    I often find myself eating the fruit I use for still life paintings. In the South road kill is considered a delicacy. Are you tempted to whip something up with the birds after you paint them?

  3. Kate, I would hate for a guest to accidentally discover your dead bird collection when reaching for ice cream! Congrats on your sale!