His Royal Majesty

His Royal Majesty by Wendy Roberts
His Royal Majesty
His Royal Majesty (a peacock) by Wendy Roberts 18 x 36 inches, oil on panel

“His Royal Majesty” is based on “my” pet peacocks. Perhaps they would best be termed peacock friends since I was never sole caretaker of either bird. When I was a teenager, my family had a pet peacock. He was so beautiful! He used to perch in the lilac bushes with his feathers flowing down against the fragrant purple bunches of flowers.

Later on, from 2010 – 2020, I had a second peacock friend. He was a free-roaming bird who came to my home for food. Even in 2010, no one knew his exact age. He had been living in the neighborhood for a long time. He was an old bird, and very wily, managing to maintain dominance over every pet in the neighborhood until the very end. We loved to feed him. Sometimes he would eat from our hands. He used to nap under the trees on shady afternoons or perch on my fence with the wind rustling his beautiful tail. He would even sometimes strut for the benefit of my cats. One of the best parts of getting to know him well was that I could calm him down if he was afraid. He did not like some big trucks, and would lose his cool and start cawing and running in fear. I was able to soothe him. The number of photos I have of this peacock is absurd.

One of the sets of photos I took of the second peacock was a pose much like this painting, with the royal peacock perched over the edge of the hill with the mountains and the stream behind him. It was as if he was surveying the neighborhood from a throne, framed nicely by a bright pink crepe myrtle tree tops on our black iron fence. It was such a beautiful composition! I used that for the base inspiration, but I knew the crepe myrtle was a little flashier than I wanted it to be. I wanted to keep attention on the peacock. So I swapped out crepe myrtle for jacaranda trees, taking inspiration from my earlier peacock buddy who used to perch in the lilacs. The color scheme is pretty much the same as my memories of the lavender colored flowers complimenting vibrant feathers. Peacock feather iridescence is sometimes verging on purple, so it works with the greens, rusts, and purple-browns of the feathers.

I hope you enjoy this image of His Royal Majesty! I have never met any other type of royalty, but I imagine the best courtly experience must be very much like spending time with these birds who strut around the garden in the finest feather, offering benevolent regard to those who show them the proper respect.