The Bird Art of William T. Cooper

Wendy Cooper

The Bird Art of William T. Cooper
National Library of Australia
1 October 2023

The Bird Art of William T. Cooper

Wendy Cooper

William T. Cooper is considered a master painter of birds. He painted them for many books, mainly bird monographs. He also created many individual paintings of various species that appealed to him, especially birds of paradise, cockatoos and hornbills. These paintings were often large with a broad technique for the backgrounds which harks back to Bill's early days as a landscape and seascape painter. Such paintings allowed freedom to show behaviour or half-covered birds and much more habitat than those for vignettes in monographs. These works and many sketches, mostly unpublished, form the content of this book.

Bill's paintings were a compilation of sketches, visions and memories drawn from various sources until it looked right. They were never a perfect rendition of a scene as pieces in the landscape were shuffled, deleted or included and the touches of ever-important light and shade added for the greatest effect. Bill lavished the exactness of all necessary detail on his plant and animal subjects. These needed to be precisely captured just like a portrait painter needs to do, where any observer who knows those subjects would instantly see an error. Bill was a romantic and loved to paint nature with all of its beauty and flaws.

In this book, readers will encounter a variety of Australian birds, separated out by their broad habitat, as well as birds from Africa, India and Southeast Asia, New Guinea and the America.

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