Christopher Kovacs - Fine Art
May 21, 2024   10:35 pm NL Time

An Improbability of Puffins

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An Improbability of Puffins


Status of Original Painting – For Sale

All prices are in Canadian dollars

Size: 11.25 x 20  inches

Price: Inquire

Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb Arches


What do you call a group of puffins? An improbability! That’s very fitting because the Atlantic puffin seems so unreal with its striking improbable, cartoonish, and clownish appearance. They are affectionately called the clowns of the sea, distinguished by their brightly colored and striped bill, a bright yellow dot on the cheek, bright orange feet, and a waddling gait. Those feet are so colorful that the white under-plumage reflects the orange. Puffins fly and swim, catching fish by diving and using their wings like fins.

There are sharp black claws on a puffin’s feet that it uses to defend itself. You can see those in my earlier painting “Puffin Perspective,” which resulted in a few comments of disbelief that a) puffins are not real and that b) even if real, they couldn’t possibly have claws.

Puffins nest atop clifftops and sea stacks, digging burrows in which a single egg is laid. The view in this painting is atop such a sea stack. The surface is riddled with small caves and is effectively a puffin condominium.

Puffins are the official bird of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and beloved by residents and tourists alike. Boat tours are advertised for the attraction of seeing both whales and puffins, and you can find puffin nicknacks and souvenirs in the local stores.

I took the reference photos in June 2021 at the puffin colony in Elliston, Newfoundland. Prior paintings of Elliston include a trio, “Iceberg in Elliston,” “A Hobbit in Elliston,” and “A Life in Solitude.”

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