For the Losing Altitude collaborative book project: http://losingaltitude.deviantart.com/, this is the Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), also called Asian King Vulture, Indian Black Vulture or my personal favorite, the Pondicherry Vulture. Losing Altitude is a collaborative project working towards raising the awareness of endangered birds. Many wonderful, bird-lovin' artists took part in the project!
Vultures have always had a soft spot in my heart. They're not only visually striking, but vultures seem to have many lessons to teach. Unfortunately, with cultural biases, many times these birds are passed off, overlooked, chalked up as "unsightly" or "gross". The plus side of being an artist, I get to show people my personal point of view, how I see the bird. I would hope that my pieces give some attention to an overlooked bird! This species of vulture is critically endangered. What really struck me about this particular species was the sudden drop in numbers. At one time, they were fairly abundant, but with the use of a drug used to treat livestock, there was a sharp drop in numbers. To me, it's a reminder to be aware, both within the wider environment and within the individual's life. It's hard to say when sudden changes are going to come, when something seemingly commonplace is going to disappear. With awareness, you can act in time. With awareness comes a fighting chance.
By the way thanks to those who critiqued and helped me out on this one! The main bulk of my work lately has been sculpture, and while it was wonderful to dive back into some colorful digital painting, I was definitely feeling some underused art muscles, but of course still wanted to give proper honor to these birds. Also a big thank you to all those who supported Losing Altitude. The Kickstarter went wonderfully, I've ordered a limited amount of copies, and I'm very excited to see the book in person!