South West artists Simon Harrison and Mark Dalton to launch Bird Brains exhibit in Yallingup

Alicia HumphreyBusselton Dunsborough Times
South West realism painter, Simon Harrison exhibiting at Yallingup Hall for his joint exhibition, 'Bird Brains'
Camera IconSouth West realism painter, Simon Harrison exhibiting at Yallingup Hall for his joint exhibition, 'Bird Brains' Credit: simon harrison/Supplied

Two South West artists with completely different skillsets have united to launch a new exhibition focusing on the wonders of birds.

Bunbury realism painter Simon Harrison and Manjimup wood carver Mark Dalton will hold the Bird Brains event across this weekend at Yallingup Hall, where the pair will share their passion for the feathered animals.

The duo, who are close friends, both admit their biggest struggle when creating their pieces is that birds do not stay still and while Harrison uses photographs and close-up images of their features to inspire his paintings, Dalton uses a different approach.

When not painting, Dalton’s other past time is taxidermy. He is self taught, and learned the skill when he was looking for a bird model that would hold still long enough to be painted and carved.

To avoid harming animals, Dalton said he begins the process by “scraping road kill” off the road, and starting the taxidermy process.

He said it was not gory, but would require him to freeze carcues, create body moulds and remove skin, all in the name of studying the creature as best he could.

Dalton said it was a challenge to find birds and wildlife that are roadkill but still intact.

His works are predominantly carved from jelutong wood and sandalwood for smaller creatures, which allow him to create finer detail.

Dalton said he also utilised copper for the legs and finer features such as leaves.

Fellow artist Harrison, whose painting medium is diverse and uses air brushing to create fine detail, also became interested in taxidermy too, also as a way of developing his art, which was how the pair met.

The exhibition will be held at the Yallingup Hall across three days from Saturday.

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