Of all the elements of nature that excite me, birds are very high up on the list. Well, more precisely, feathers. Give me a few hours to leaf through an ornithologist's handbook and my mind is a mosaic of colour and pattern. Let me wander the halls of a natural history museum to get up close to all kinds of winged beauties in their taxidermied state (strangely, I'm particularly drawn to the paper identification tags around their feet) and my wonderment never ceases.
Some birds are bestowed with many feathers of distinctly different colours, while other birds have feathers with oh-so subtle variations that come together to form an intricate pattern. I love to see high-contrasting underwings and banded, mottled or vermiculated breasts & tails, and am ecstatic when I stumble across a colour combination that, by traditional decorating standards, would seem ludicrous but which all of a sudden makes sense.
Before settling on the final palette for Travellers & Magicians, I spent the day at the Australian Museum in Sydney. I was drawn to the plumage of various species of Australian parrot – Paradise, Double-eyed Fig, Eastern Rosella, and Scaly-Breasted Lorikeet – but it was the Mistletoebird, with its scarlet chin and jet-black plumage that got the best of me and lent many of its colours to the final palette.
For those who lack colour confidence, I recommend choosing a muse from nature – be it a plant, animal or landscape. As I found with the Mistletoebird, and many other birds I have come across, is that you see the synchronicity of colour, which quickly helps you to see the perfection of mother nature's pairings – who are we to dispute her choices? Why wouldn't the same combination work in your home? Use these pairings to justify your own.