Discovering talented professional and emerging artists to share with my readers is one of the great joys of my blogging experience. This week, it is a pleasure to introduce you to a promising, young wildlife artist, Matteo Grilli.

Born in Italy in 1984, but now living in Brisbane, Australia, Matteo and I met on Facebook. Each week I ask my fan page members a simple question, “What’s on your easel?” Matteo posted a watercolor bird portrait of an Emu, from his Australian wanderings and travels. This especially caught my attention since I had just returned from Australia and New Zealand myself.

roseallas bird
©2011 Matteo Grilli

Okay, I have to admit that I humbly refer to myself as an ‘arm chair naturalist’ from time to time, and I have a weakness for wildlife art journals and sketchbooks. Matteo’s art reminds me of my own wildlife roots, back when I painted with the likes of Robert Bateman, John Seerey-Lester, Carl Brenders and Guy Coheleach. I also marveled at the paintings of New Zealand wildlife artist, Ray Harris Ching. These wildlife art giants all kept (and still do keep) copious journals and trained us to do the same.

teal ducks and stilt shorebirds
©2011 Matteo Grilli

A generation later, Matteo is following a similar path. His love of birds and animals are carefully yet artistically rendered and recorded in the journal pages, which he fills with the flora and fauna of his Australian wanderings in the bush, wetlands, beaches, parks and gardens. Matteo explains that it is his ultimate goal is to draw attention to the beauty of Nature, to inspire its contemplation, discovery and understanding, therefore, its respect and conservation.

“What makes birds and other animals so inspiring to me, other than their sheer, inaccessible beauty, is their fleeting essence and the urge to preserve their wildness. My artistic research reflects my will to raise awareness about Nature’s beauty, to inspire its contemplation and discovery as well as inspiring action for its protection and conservation.” ~Matteo Grilli

bird feathers watercolor sketchbook
©2011 Matteo Grilli

Matteo’s Art Making Process:

  • Once back in the studio, Matteo recollects the experiences and  feelings through his journals filled with drawings, colors, writings and photographs.

    ©2011 Matteo Grilli
  • Matteo strives for precision and detail, yet recognizes the importance of what is left untold, unseen and vague.
  • The fresh, fluid features of watercolors, with their watery-airy transparency perfectly convey his emotions toward the subject.
  • Matteo relies on the bright white of the paper which becomes space, light, air and lightness.
  • Matteo is fascinated by the simplicity of Ancient Cave Art, Chinese and Japanese art.
  • The artists who influence Matteo’s work include, the Dutch nature artist Marjolein Bastin and two bird artists Louis Agassiz Fuertes and John Busby.

Matteo is actively involved in bird and environment conservation and is a member of the Italian Association for the Protection of Birds -LIPU, as well as Wildcare Australia, a non-for profit organization located in South East Queensland dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of native wildlife.

Matteo Grilli wildlife artist
Matteo Grilli

To learn more about Matteo please check out his blog, it is one of the most unique and creative art websites I have seen. A visit to his blog leaves his readers with the feeling of having just flipped through the beautifully illustrated pages of his wildlife journals, you will not be disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by. Any encouragement in the comment section from fellow artists or art enthusiasts will be greatly appreciated by Matteo. ~Lori

PS. You might enjoy this wonderful North Light instructional book, Keys to Painting Birds and Feathers
PSS. I’d love to meet on Facebook and Twitter! ~Lori (or if you want to see my paintings)

If you enjoyed this article, please check out these:

How to Choose Better Subject Matter for Your Art
6 Tips for a Stress Free Sketchbook
A Dynamic Animal Oil Painting Demo by Phil Beck
Bringing the Still Life to Life: A Painting Demo by Master, Jeff Legg
How to Paint Iridescent Bird Feathers and Make Them Glow (video)
How to Paint Animal Fur (video)
Top Paintbrush Cleaning Tips from the Pros on Facebook
Watercolor and its Materials for the Beginner
To meet some great and inspiring artists, check out The PowerArtists Interview Series
Stay tuned for an upcoming article that highlights the bird art of John Perry Baumlin!

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