I am a self-taught Brazilian artist and illustrator of birds. Minas Gerais in south-central Brazil is my home region. Since I was little, in Ponte Nova, the city where I was born, I was passionate about animals, and especially with dinosaurs. I grew up in a large house in Ponte Nova with a small forest just behind our home. The forest was my introduction to nature and I visited the forest almost every day – this forest was my outdoor classroom where I was first introduced to trees, plants and especially birds.
I began to draw at a very young age. My mother, Indiana Parentoni, was supportive and encouraged my artwork. She provided me with paper, pencils and paints. I drew on notebooks, on the floor, on furniture and on walls. I was never scolded for drawing on the walls or furniture
When I was about nine years old, a neighbor was there at home and started looking at the walls of the room and told my mother that the house was very dirty. My mother went to the neighbor, took her hand and went to the bookcase where she ran the lady’s hand in every corner of the furniture. She did the same with other places and showed his hand for the lady to see that it was clean. My mother told the neighbor that the house was clean and what she saw on the walls was not dirt, but paintings by an artist. Mother’s thing!
As a young boy I knew that I wanted to be an artist focusing on wildlife art, especially birds. I am a self-taught artist. As a young boy, I lived in a small Brazilian city with few art educational opportunities available to me. I learned about wildlife art from books, and by observing paintings of other artists. As a young artist I was influenced by William T. Cooper, with his paintings of parrots, and Etienne Demonte, an excellent Brazilian painter.
I was lucky to be born in a home where my mother and father always supported me. Today family support continues from my wife and my two children.
In 1987 I bought a magazine called “Ciência Hoje” at the newsstand. It was a very good magazine and on the last page I read an article about swifts in Rio Grande do Norte. One of the authors of this article was Ornithologist Geraldo Mattos de Viçosa, from a city close to mine. I went to meet Geraldo in Viçosa. He received me at his home and we talked a lot about birds. I started to visit Geraldo’s house in the following months, taking my sketches of birds. On one of those occasions, Geraldo told me that he knew Dr. Helmut Sick and that he could introduce me to Dr. Sick in Rio de Janeiro. I was very happy, because at that time I had already bought the book “Brazilian Ornithology, an Introduction” published by Dr. Sick in 1985. On my first of many visits to Dr. Sick I got my first job as a bird illustrator. I illustrated the book “Aves de Santa Catarina” by biologist Lenir Alda do Rosário, a student of Sick. After that, I never stopped drawing.
The designs of my artworks are inspired by nature. Brazil’s tropical rainforest is very varied with an amazing number of different species of trees, shrubs, vines, aireal and ground plants. Because of Brazil’s rich biodiversity there are an infinite combination of plants and animals that could be incorporated into a painting’s design.
I am always in the field, observing and studying the behavior, morphology, feeding and habits of birds. This is important to seek inspiration and have new ideas, in addition to trying to make a correct painting that represents the chosen species. I specialize in artwork of birds.
Toucans and Macaws, spectacular birds of Brazil, are my favorite subjects. The vibrant colors of the varied species are an inspiration with many different possible artistic designs with amazing bills of the toucans and tails of the Macaws.
I prefer to take binoculars, tape recorders, pencils, erasers, and a sketchbook to the field. I am almost a 19th century painter. I do not use a camera during my field work. I draw quick sketches during my field work of the bird’s different positions, and note the vegetation and habitat.
I travel to National Parks and other protected areas to observe new bird species and to get to know their environments and habitats. I’ve been to the Pantanal, and Serra do Mar in Rio de Janeiro. I traveled through the fields of Santa Catarina and in the Pampas of Rio Grande do Sul. In Minas Gerais, I was in the Serra da Canastra looking for the Merganser, in the Serra do Cipó to paint the Lenheiro-da-serra-do-cipó and in Ibitipoca watching the nesting of the mountain eagle.
I can say that I have done thousands of sketches of Brazilian birds. The vast majority of the bird species I illustrate live in Atlantic Forest Ecosystem, known “Mata Altlantic”. The sketches are very important for those who want to draw birds. It is through the sketches that we can know the shape of each bird species. Many of bird artworks are illustrations for books. Most of my artwork is done is gouache, but sometimes I use watercolors and acrylic paints.
I illustrated several books on birds, such as Aves do Santa Catarina, Field Guide for Birds of Brazil, Field Guide for Birds of the Amazon, Tucanos of the Americas, Terra Papagalli and Hummingbirds of Brazil, as well as other works for companies and art galleries.
I am currently working on four books: on-line guide to birds in Santa Catarina, Gaviões e Falcões do Brasil, Bird in Brazil for Princeton and Jóias Aladas do Brasil for a private collection.
Leon Van der Linden, a Dutch wildlife artist, who has lived in Brazil comments on Eduardo’s artwork: “I first came into contact with Eduardo Brettas’s work when I lived in Brazil. I got hold of a book entitled “Tucanos das Americas” and it was a revelation for me because in Brazil painting nature and certainly the animals that live there is not part of the culture. The quality of the depicted birds, toucans, arassaris and toucanets of Central and South America was of a very high level, especially when looking at the correct anatomy and natural representation. The work of Eduardo Brettas reminds me of that of Willaiam T. Cooper and because of the great knowledge he has about these birds and his accuracy, his work is ideally suited for, for example, the production of bird guides and his work certainly deserves more attention outside of his native Brazil. Eduardo is one of Brazil’s most outstanding wildlife artists.”
A project that pleases me a lot is the “Terra Papagalli” collection that we started in 2008 with the idea of painting all the birds of our country, but not in the form of a guide, but as a more artistic work, covering the whole of each family. Two great books on parrots and hummingbirds have already been published. The next book will be the Gaviões e Falcões do Brasil scheduled for the end of 2020.
I post images of my current bird paintings and illustrations as well as artworks in progress on social media sites of Facebook and Instagram – please take a look.
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