Mandarin Drake

Mandarin Drake, (2004)
Signed and Numbered Limited Edition of 950, Offset on Paper
Retail Price at Issue $125
Please inquire about the availability of Artist’s Proofs
Image Size 14¼” x 20″

Interested buyers please contact Tracy Morrison (Conservation Design) at Email:; Phone: 1-781-585-9871;
Located in Duxbury MA

If there is one creature in the waterfowl world that is very surprising in color and form, it surely is the mandarin drake. Three duck species have always been very attractive to me: the wood duck, the harlequin duck and the mandarin duck. The last one, although, is the most gorgeous and spectacular. One could wonder what’s the need to have those curious, outstanding orange-gold “sails” that extend up along its flanks. (Mother Nature gives certain creatures strange forms and colors that certainly play a role in the mating game. (Think about the tail of the male peacock.)

Originally a native of China and Japan, this oriental beauty is widely kept on ornamental ponds worldwide. The mandarin’s pair bonds are strong, and pairs of caged mandarin ducks were formerly given as gifts at Chinese weddings as symbols of marital fidelity.

Mandarins are essentially cavity nesters (just as the American wood duck), but will also nest on the ground sometimes. Ducks are not always in the water, and mandarins, which are most active mainly in the pre-dawn and twilight hours, rest on the bank during the day, only in places where no predators can bother them.

This is what you see in my painting. The acorns and few dead leaves on the ground are important elements in the composition and an alternation of texture and color.

— Carl Brenders