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Australia’s Birds in Watercolour is a beautifully illustrated book that celebrates Australia’s wonderful and diverse bird life through the unique vision of David Freedman, a masterful watercolour artist. With 304 pages and more than 270 illustrations, it features Richard Steele’s informative, very personal and entertaining text, describing the unique characteristics and behaviour of each bird. Australia’s Birds in Watercolour is an expanded and refined edition of David Freedman’s very popular publication Australia’s Birds. Noted ornithologist and illustrator Robin Hill has contributed a foreword that adds value and understanding to this exceptional work, elegantly designed by Gavin Fry. The paintings of all the species in the book are vivid, detailed and reproduced in brilliant colour.
For bird lovers and enthusiasts of all ages, this remarkable book is an essential addition to any collection. The Foreword to Australia’s Birds in Watercolour
Australia's Birds in Watercolour celebrates Australia’s wonderful and diverse bird life through the unique vision of David Freedman, a masterful watercolour artist. With 304 pages and 270 illustrations, it features Richard Steele’s informative, very personal and entertaining text, describing the unique characteristics and behaviour of each bird. Australia’s Birds in Watercolour is an expanded and refined edition of David Freedman’s very popular publication Australia’s Birds from 2021. David had recently retired from a 42-year career as a Rural General Surgeon, based in Swan Hill, Victoria. He had worked in many provincial centres around Australia, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific. In retirement he has devoted his time and energy to further a life interest in art. His passion has been almost exclusively Plein Air painting and he has recently published a book outlining its general principles to assist beginners. The advent of the pandemic and its associated restrictions prevented travel and the chance to paint in the open air. An opportunity arose to commit to an art project that would require significant research but could be undertaken at home. A disastrous bushfire season had recently occurred in Australia. It destroyed wildlife and habitat and drove an unusual number of surviving birds out of forest areas into the city fringe. A pair of Eastern Rosellas nested in a bird box outside David’s studio window. Watching their activities and seeing many different birds was inspirational and led to a study of ornithological painting. A different technique had to be researched and practised and the internet was an invaluable resource. Each species has equal weight and its own page opening. Noted ornithologist and illustrator Robin Hill has contributed a foreword that adds value and understanding to this exceptional work, elegantly designed by Gavin Fry. David Freedman and Richard Steele were neighbours as young children. The second marriage of David’s father and Richard's mother in the prism of an acrimonious divorce resulted in them losing contact for some 50 years. By chance, David discovered Richard was extremely fond of birds and he invited him to co-author this volume. Richard was surprised, but welcomed the restoration of family contact and accepted the challenge without hesitation, despite not having any previous experience as an author. Richard has an intense passion for our Australian bird life and has been its keen student for as long as he can remember. In his career as a School Principal and teacher in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, there were always a wide variety and significant numbers of birds visiting his home and workplace. He has travelled extensively and camped in much of the Australian outback. The opportunity to see at first hand so many of our beautiful and diverse bird species over many years cultivated his interest and deepened his ornithological knowledge. This is evident in the enthusiastic, rich and very personal approach of his texts. Birds are part of our heritage and are among the fellow creatures with which we all share this wonderful country of Australia. It is beyond the scope of this publication to depict all 850 species, but many are presented here in their individual beauty and enormous variety for your enjoyment.
‘Australia’s Birds in Watercolour’ could be described as a most beautiful coffee table book, but it is more than that. Almost a third of Australia’s rich avifauna, including the most iconic species, is finely illustrated in superbly rendered watercolours by established artist David Freedman. The accompanying text by Richard Steele, a true bird enthusiast, is informative and entertaining, and wonderfully complements the illustrations. Highly recommended to bird enthusiasts and to those who appreciate fine natural history art.
—Robert J King Emeritus Professor of Biological Science, University of New South Wales
In ‘Australia’s Birds in Watercolour’, David Freedman gives us his attractively personal celebration of our birds with an energy that enlivens the page. His brush work is direct and attractively broad, evincing an aliveness in his creatures. David’s highly individual vision is complemented by Richard Steele’s perceptive wry humour in a text that is informative and engaging.
—Robin Hill Internationally renowned author and illustrator