THE HATCHING OF "PEAFOWL OF THE WORLD"

By Doni Kendig

I'm a wildlife artist. Some years ago, Danny Potente, a peafowl and exotic bird enthusiast, art wholesaler extraordinaire and UPA member, found my web site: www.donikendig.com and purchased several limited edition prints and our dialogue began.

Danny has many peafowl, including silver pied, purple, some whites, black shouldered pied, red buff spalding and black shouldered silver pied and a cameo silver pied, plus other exotic birds. The peafowl, pheasants and other exotic birds run free in his father's construction yard near his home in Hicksville, NY. He considers Lewis Eckard his mentor, who has been a great inspiration for his interest in peafowl.

Over the course of time, our conversations (he lives in New York and I live in California) developed into a friendship. Somewhere along the line, Danny asked if I would consider painting peafowl. At great length, he described their beauty, their unique qualities and his total fascination.

Danny's dream was to produce an educational poster "Peafowl of the World". He felt very few people knew anything about them, especially that there are 50+ varieties bred all over the USA. Rare visits to a zoo or aviary with an India blue or white were most peoples only exposure to peafowl, other than the NBC Peacock. For ten years, he had been trying to pique someone's interest in his project.

I was fascinated with the idea, but already had many commitments. I paint a minimum of 8 hours a day, usually more. My gallery required that a minimum of 5 originals be in the gallery at all times. From November, 1999 through May, 2000, they sold 6 originals and arranged 2 commissions with an average size of 36" x 48", mostly cats-two white tigers, three Bengal tigers, and two leopards.

In August, 2000, we bought a house and started the "house trauma period"-new floors, paint, woodwork, walls. The contractor arrived, tore up the carpet, wrapped everything in plastic and didn't show up the next day, or the next. On the third day, he called and promised to start the next week he had an emergency out of town. (We were still wrapped in plastic). Suddenly, I had no studio, no place to work! The contractor had lots of excuses and promises, promises, promises. In early December, they finally started installing the flooring. My studio was to be first. The installer got half way through and found they had misfigured and were short. While we waited for additional flooring, I had the electrician install the lighting now I had lights and half a floor. I was hopelessly behind in my painting commitments. I finished the second commission working in the half with a floor and was forced to suspend the gallery relationship until I had a studio to work in.

Before, during and after the house trauma period, my conversations with Danny continued, he urging me to paint peafowl. Suddenly, I had the time.

First on my new agenda: research. I hit the internet for peafowl, peacocks, etc and visited all the sites, reading all the info and studying the photos there weren't very many. I also visited sites for India and all areas where the peafowl are indigenous for authentic environmental background.

Then, I went to Barnes & Noble for books and publications. The most recent book published about peafowl was in 1982. I ordered all six items they had; however, two were about diseases and/or feeding, two were for children and very skinny and two were about several varieties of birds with at most two pages on peafowl. To my disappointment, the photos were black and white and grainy or elementary drawings, almost cartoons.

Danny sent me his copies of the UPA Journal and all the publications he had with photos, and photographs of his birds. I arranged for a professional photographer, Geoff Graham of Canoga Park, CA, to go to the Palos Verdes peninsula and the Rolling Hills Reserve where India blues live in the wild on the California coast and to Josie Myrman, a local breeder in Chino, CA, to photograph the birds in as many attitudes and angles as possible. Unfortunately, the temperatures were in the 90's and 100's so they weren't interested in being too active.

My email pleas to members of the UPA produced several photographs of various species, all greatly appreciated. Lewis Eckard, president, approved my acquisition of the UPA'S collection of shots from their files.

Sketches, sketches and more sketches, plus telephone conferences with Danny-what I feel, what he wants to include, etc. Months later, after hundreds of hours with three-hair brushes and detail, detail, detail, the painting was taking shape. I had it photographed and samples printed.

We planned a trip to Virginia and West Virginia from September 4-16. On the 16th, my husband was to fly home to California and I would fly to New York to meet with Danny. My daughter, Diane, who works with me in marketing and all the details of maintaining a business, was to bring the samples and the painting and join us. And we all know what happened on September 11th!! We were fortunate just to get on a flight home to California on the 17th. The airports in New York were still closed.

New plan we will all go to Kansas City for the convention in October-half way for each contingent. Plane tickets, hotel reservations, a rental car were all reserved and waiting.

I had a heck of a time finding warm clothes in Southern California. I grew up in Nebraska and knew I'd need heavier things than were in my closet. After I shopped, borrowed and scavenged heavy sweaters, socks and a leather jacket |I started packing. Danny called the day before we were scheduled to leave at 6:00am on the 23rd. His uncle was terminally ill and not expected to live through the day. Our plans to meet were cancelled again. What a disappointment!

So we were back to collaborating by telephone and email. The painting was uncrated, back on the easel. We had planned to display it at the convention and were pencilled into the Saturday morning program. We planned to ask for suggestions and critique from the experts-attendees at the convention, the perfect feedback from those who really know the birds. Foiled again.

Undaunted, I started on the series of individual species paintings, which will be issued as limited edition prints on canvas, when completed. Obviously, the first must be the India blue. Danny feels the most beautiful is the silver pied, so this will be the second.

Printed samples of the poster were sent to Danny and he had a multitude of corrections: the various reflective metallic and iridescent colors are fantastic in the original, but the printing process is incapable of reproducing them. The colors aren't as vibrant, some of the details have been lost and the shapes flattened. To reverse this effect of the printing process, I had to lighten areas, redefine edges and rework the reflective feathers. For the legend, numbers and bullets are proofed for accuracy. Oops! 2 numbers are switched.

The title of the poster is "PEAFOWL OF THE WORLD" with a list, numbered and labeled to the left and bullets of information listed to the right.

To produce a poster, the painting must again be professionally photographed, color corrected and put on CD for the press. There are half a dozen printing processes available these days, so we tried them all, chose the most color effective and had samples printed. Then we sent them to Danny and awaited the verdict.

With Danny's enthusiastic approval, we printed the poster. As an educational piece for children and adults, framed in oak, cherry, mahogany, silver, gold or whitewash, it will complement any decor. It is printed on quality 100 pound gloss stock.

The finished poster, unframed, is 36" x 24" and retails for $20.00 each. Frame it for $49.95 each or $69.95 ready to hang. The cost for shipping and handling for one to three framed posters is $20.00.

1 PEAFOWL OF THE WORLD $20.00 each 3 PEAFOWL OF THE WORLD $50.00

4-49 posters @ $15.00 each, 50-99 posters @ $12.50 each, 100 or more @ $10.00 each, plus shipping and handling. Up to 10 posters, shipping & handling is $10.00. For 1- 3 framed posters, shipping & handling is $20.00. For larger orders, please fax us for shipping & handling amount.

To order:

Artline Wholesalers, Inc. (Danny Potente)
10 Howard Street
Hicksville, NY 11801
FAX (516) 931-5735

or

Doni Kendig, Artist
46-200 Lou Circle
Indian Wells, CA 92210
FAX (760) 772-6155

If faxing a credit card order, be sure to include the expiration date.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE POSTER


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