Monday, 10 December 2012

December News

I found this beautiful butterfly in a flower bed in the Brisbane City centre. Dead. It is a Lime or Chequered Swallowtail, Papilio demoleus. I decided to pick it up and as gently as possible I placed it in my bag. Unfortunately it lost both antennas, but still retained its beauty. I find it surprising how butterflies maintain their beauty for so long after dying.

The November/December issue of the Australian Wildlife Secrets Magazine , a beautiful magazine full of great photography and useful informations on Australian wildlife, just featured an illustration of mine of Common Ringtail possums, one of the cutest night creatures of the suburbs. Australian Wildlife Secrets is published bi-monthly and is available through newsagencies or by subscription and delivered to your door (Australia wide and overseas). Here are two images of the latest issue:

Another awesome wildlife magazine that recently featured my work is WILDLIFE Australia Magazine , published quarterly since 1963 by the community conservation group Wildlife Queensland as a major environmental awareness and educational initiative. The magazine is only available for subscribers both in Australia and overseas. Here are two images of the latest issue:

 To the Chief Editor of Australian Wildlife Secrets, Simon Watharow and to the Editor of WILDLIFE Australia Magazine, Saren Starbridge, goes my most sincere thank you for taking interest in my work.

For those interested into buying my original artworks , I would like to tell you that you are still in time to get them before Christmas if you are in Australia, at no shipping cost. No cost worldwide shipping will be available for all original artworks only until January 1st 2013.
Since this will be my last post for 2012, I would like to thank everybody who have been following and supporting my artistic endeavours, this last year has been really special in so many ways. 
Regardless of your religion or cultural background, I would like to wish you the best time spent with loved ones and a New Year full of inspiration, gratitude, beauty, good humour, good luck and wildlife!


Monday, 19 November 2012

A South-east Queensland Spring Walk

 The Nudgee Beach Reserve is located on Brisbane's north coast and not far from the airport. It is part of the Boondall Wetlands Park, a favourite of mine, where wildlife is always aboundant and sightings are guaranteed. The location is equipped with wooden paths that will bring you over the muddy banks of Nudgee Creek where lots and lots of crabs hide themselves in their burrows just as you walk over.

The walk stretches on in a very interesting habitat characterized by Mangroves growing on both sides of the path, the ground looks rather muddy due to the changing tides thus making the perfect environment for the crabs. Bird life is also rich, in Spring the sweet song of the Mangrove Greygone fills every corner of the mangrove bush, just as the call of the Collared Kingfishers, chasing each other between the braches and over the mudflats at lowtide.

 At the point when the mangrove bush thins out, the banks of the creek become sandy and still with plenty of high trees around, it provides the perfect habitat for the Rainbow Bee-eaters, Merops ornatus, a migrant from the north who spends Spring, Summer and Autumn down south. 
Their shape in flight, their musical chattering and their colours make them unmistakable. A range of greens, blues, yellows, blacks and oranges darting in the sky is always an exciting sight.

The colours of the Rainbow Bee-eater

But they are rather shy and won't allow you to get too close, so good binoculars are a must. Their agility on air is outstanding, they make catching insects in flight look like the easiest thing. The male allowed me to watch him for a long time as he was perched on a lower branch a Eucalyptus tree in the shade. I was able to notice the only difference between male and female that is the pair of central tail feathers. Both sexes have two extended shafts which are longer in males.

Preliminary sketch

Somewhere, hidden between the sands along Nudgee Creek is their tunnel nest, bearing the new generation of Rainbow Bee-eaters.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Greeting Cards and a Gift for the Readership

I recently thought about giving the readership of Matteo Grilli Wildlife Art a gift, so I'm very happy to inform you that a coupon code is now available for all the readers and visitors of this blog, so if you're interested into getting the code to receive 10% discount on any item/s purchased at please send me an email and I will provide you with the code.

I thing I've been planning for a long time has now been finalized. I'm very very happy about having just released this series of eco-friendly Australian Birds greeting cards . The cards have been printed on a beautifully textured Italian recycled paper and printed with eco-friendly inks. They can be purchased singularly or as a set. They come with a recycled envelope and are blanc on the inside.

More news about the store? Well, all Medium-size Prints, are now at 10% discount which becomes 20% if purchased with the coupon code, and there is international free shipping for all original artworks.
Also, I just released a collection of Origami Pheasants, the design of the origami is an original of mine as it can't be found in any origami book that I know. Each one has been painted with watercolours. 

Thanks for reading,
until next time!

All the best

Monday, 29 October 2012

Flying Silver Gulls Series

The light and gentle flight of the seagulls is always a pleasure to watch, the Silver Gulls are very common and I observed these at Wellington Point, a coastal suburb of Brisbane.

The rough and beautiful texture of this handmade paper is visible even in the scans and every piece of paper has four-sides deckle edges.

These three artworks are for sale in my store.
I decided not to put any mounting as it would hide the beautiful deckle edges.

 I realized this three-pieces series on handmade watercolour Khadi paper, the production and trade of Khadi papers supports and empowers small Indian communities with a low impact on the environment, find out more at

Until next time!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Matteo Grilli Wildlife Art Christmas Ideas

I've been rather busy lately stocking up my online store for the upcoming season, which is always exciting as it is a chance to look back into what I've been working on for the last few years and find a new way to look at my creative endavours. For instance, there was a big painting, a composition of many feathers of different Australian bird species that I was not sure what to make out of it, so I decided to cut out every feather with tiny sissors and mount them on a hard paper board and here we go! A new collection of bookmarks. The same with a few more feathers and a couple of Eucalyptus leaves from a painting that has never been finished.

I also decided to take some more paintings to be professionally scanned and released as open edition archival Giclee reproductions. It was the right time to get this Pale-headed Rosella out there, a bird and a painting I'm very fond of. This bird used to come and visit the big tree in our backyard and this is one of my earliest study of Australian birds. It is now available as small, medium-size and large print.

Probably not so colorful as a parrot, but certainly not less intersting or charming, the Bush-stone Curlews of the first painting of the Avian Faces Series could not be missing from this selection. The four faces of this awesome bird are also available as small, medium-size and large prints.

For those who love the colours of australian cockatoos, here we have the Galahs feeding on the ground after a storm. This painting is also available as small, medium-size and large print.

My last choice was for the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, who after a feed on our veranda, decided to observe and study myself sitting on the chair in front of him, revealing his curious and inquisitive nature, as well as the other paintings this is also available as small, medium-size and large print.
Each print is individually signed and dated. For more informations regarding sizes and shipping, please follow the links provided.

My work is not over, I'm now organizing for getting greeting cards printed and I hope to be able to release them very soon.
I'm open to suggestions and feedback and I would love to hear from you, 
until next time,
all the best,

Monday, 24 September 2012

Meeting the Australian Wood Duck

This beautiful duck, Chenonetta jubata, is the only living species of the genus Chenonetta and has features of both dabbling ducks and geese. They look like small-size geese in many ways, the shape of their beak, the way they graze, their habitat, that is mostly open, short-grass land not far from water, in fact they love golf clubs and similar kind of lawns.

Male and female have obvious differences. The call of the male reminds me of the whistle of the Eurasian Wigeon, but much softer. They can also be heard honking and chattering in a way similar to that of geese.

Their breeding behaviour is similar to that of the American Wood Duck and the Mandarin Duck: the female lays her eggs in a tree cavity and the ducklings will leap from the nest just after hatching, landing on the ground without any injury and following both mother and father thereafter. 

Outside the breeding season I noticed they gather in larger groups, still maintaining visible pair bonds within the flock, males seem to be rather territorial of their feeding patch, chasing away possible competitors in a very goose-like way that is running towards the 'enemy' with head and neck lowered near the ground. I also had the impression that there was some kind of a 'head of the flock' keeping an eye over the fellow members of the group while the others were quietly grazing around. During the breeding season though, the flock seems to break apart and pairs seem to live in a closer relationship on their way to raise a family.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Brisbane Whalewatching

This post is not going to be about my art but about a beautiful experience that I want to share with as many people as possible. It is about whales, Humpback Whales.
We couldn't have had a better day to go whale watching, a beautiful early September day, not one cloud in the sky and the sea just flat and promising.
If you find yourself in Brisbane between June and November, Brisbane Whalewatching starts daily tours from Redcliffe's jetty and will bring you to the northern tip of Moreton Island, just between Moreton Bay and the Pacific Ocean where several pods of Humpback Whales gather to winter and to give birth to the new generations.
We left at 10 am on a catamaran especially designed for whale watching and led by captain Kerry Lopez, apparently the first and only woman to lead a whale watching business in the South Pacific.

 The crossing to the old Cape Morton lighthouse is about 40km and just after leaving we could spot lots and lots of blue jellyfish swimming close to the surface and about half way we were greeted by a pod of jumping dolphins. After sailing along Moreton Island and admiring its woods, sand dunes and awesome beaches, the captain reported a sighting of a pod of Humpbacks just in front of us, then another one on the right and another on the left and then we realized we were surrounded by small pods of whales, around twenty individuals altogether, all blowing and coming to the surface one after the other until a curious one decided to take a closer look of us and swam around the vessel.

The motors of the catamaran got switched off not to become dangerous for the approaching whale. Whale watching industry follows rather strict rules on how to behave out on the sea with cetaceans, for instance it is not allowed to get closer than 100 meters to the animals and touching or feeding is forbidden as well. Vessels should also sail at a low speed and close encounters are allowed only if decided by the whale.

The catamaran got slowly closer not to scare them away and a small pod approached us swimming around the vessel. Every now and then a whale swam under the boat coming up on the other side blowing air out of its blowholes. We were able to observe a series of surface behaviours such as blowing, fluking, flipper slapping, breaching and spy hopping, all devices used by the animals to communicate with other members about their location and size.

Whale hunting was once one of the primary industries of Australia and was officially closed only in 1979 when just about 100 Humpback Whales were left on the eastern coasts of the country. Since then numbers have risen at the rate of 10-11% every year and in 2006 about 8000 individuals were counted. Today Humpback Whales are considered vulnerable all over Australian coasts.

We've enjoyed the company of the whales for over two hours, watching them coming out of the water many times and very close, at a certain time we've been served a buffe' lunch, vegetarian, vegan options and alcohol drinks available, all included into the ticket's fare. While having lunch we could still enjoy the view of these beautiful animals swimming all around. Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales winter in the tropical waters of the eastern coasts of Australia at the same time when they give birth to the young ones. While at the tropics, they live on the reserves of fat accumulated during the Antarctic summer when they are able to feed on krill. They return to the Antarctic waters every November to be back along Australia's coasts the next year around May or June.

We watched the Humpback Whales for a while after lunch, until they started drifting away in the immensity of the blue ocean. Then we started heading back to the Redcliffe's jetty. To see these awesome mighty animals free in their natural habitat was an amazing experience that I hope to repeat next year when they'll be back up again in the warmer waters of the Queensland coast. The city of Brisbane with its high buildings as seen from the Moreton Bay was just a tiny clutter of small, grey rectangles surrounded by the immensity of the sky, the sea, Moreton Island and the whales.

Brisbane Whalewatching gives a guarantee for seeing whales as if one day they decide not to be visible or if the weather conditions do not allow the trip, your reservation won't be cancelled and you'll be provided with a second free trip for the first day available.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

City Life - the Australian White Ibis

The breeding season for the Australian White Ibis, Threskiornis molucca, has started here in Brisbane. Couples are building nests with twigs and small branches, usually not far from water and high on trees like Mangroves, Palms and also thick Bamboo. Some may probably already have eggs or young hatchlings.

Once the jouveniles leave the nest, they are very easily distinguished from the audults, they have a shorter bill and a dark feathery head compared to the bald head and neck of audults. The new generations also have a much whiter colour compared to the 'dirty' white of their parents. 

They have a very strong prehistoric look with their bald, wrinkly and scaly skin of head and neck. During the breeding season some magenta-carmine scales of skin appear at the back of audults' heads, as well as along the legs, their blue-black ornamental tertiary feathers become wider and shinier. They also seem to become more vocal and territorial or competitive, honking at each other very loudly.

They are opportunistic birds and they've adapted very very well to urban and suburban conditions, it looks like they are more common than crows and pigeons in Brisbane, invasive and shameless they often jump on cafe tables and walk among pedestrians across Queen Street Mall. Not very loved by people... but in the end they're just making the best out of what's available, aren't we doing just the same?

An older ink sketch

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Kookaburra Couple

Greeting Cards available

I was captured by the unassuming colours of this bird contrasting so greatly with their strong personality. The explosive 'laughter' of the Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae, can be heard mostly before the sunrise, when it's still dark and after the sunset, just before complete darkness. It is a territorial signal. According to the Aboriginal belief, the Kookaburra's laughter every morning is a signal to the sky people to light the great fire that illuminates and warms the earth. The name 'kookaburra' apparently comes from an Aboriginal language that is now extint, the Wiradhuri from New South Wales.

Males and females are almost identical, I've been told males have blue feathers on the rump or upper-tail covert feathers. They can be very friendly especially when people feed them, but I red on the magazine called Australian Wildlife Secrets that it is not recommended to feed meat to wild birds as meat for human consumption is too rich in fat and protein for wildlife.

They hunt from the branches or from a favourite perch from which they observe the surroundings until a prey moves close. I once saw a male offering a small snake to the female, but she was not interested... According to the scientific classification, the Kookaburra belongs to the family of the King Fishers Halcyonidae but instead of living by the water, they evolved to be able to live in the drier conditions of the the bush and woodlands of Australia. 

Short update from my shop: international free postage now available for all Original Artworks

Until next time
All the best

Friday, 3 August 2012

Prints now available!

The Shop

I am very very glad to release this information as I just opened my Etzy shop, you will be able to find a selection of reproductions of some of my latest watercolour paintings in three sizes, small, medium and large and I also made a selection of older original artworks dating back from 2006 including before-Australia works that I'm willing to sell. I will be shipping all over the world.

Choice of 8 reproductions

Browsing the shop you'll find all the needed informations, if you don't, please just send me an email. This is all very exciting and I am absolutely thrilled to read your suggestions and feed backs, so please, do not be shy about leaving a comment.

Choice of 31 original artworks
I'm feeling thankful and blessed for all the support I received from both close and far away people as without it, all this now wouldn't be possible.

All the best

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