Tag Archives: birds

Something about birds

What is it about birds? I love watching birds…. birds at the feeder, birds flying by, especially flocks of birds. On occasion, I try to paint the birds I see in a realistic way, but more often I create colourful birds of the imagination, birds from faraway tropics, birds with hairdos, eye rings…improbable birds. As far back I can remember, I have painted, drawn, sculpted, collaged and colored these fanciful birds.

Our spring has been unfolding slowly, with many false starts and sunny days that tease. Outside these past two weeks, we have had many gray and overcast days. Inside, I have been immersed in a world of colourful and wild birds in tangled gardens. It is as if another spring is blooming inside me! When I make a rice paper birds and arrange them between sheets of plexiglass or when I paint birds, It feels as if these birds reside inside in me, too many to count, and as they are created, they fly free in paint and ink, in collage papers. Why I love to paint fanciful birds, I do not know. They are a happy mystery to me. I feel as though I could create birds forever! Look below for my recent spring pieces followed by  an assortment of other birds in flight from years gone by.

" Spring Bursting Forth", watercolour and inks, 18" x 24"

” Spring Bursting Forth”, watercolour and inks, 18″ x 24″

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"Tree Blooming Birds", Rice paper Plexiglass Collage, 32" x 40"

“Tree Blooming Birds”, Rice paper Plexiglass Collage, 32″ x 40″


Playing with Plexiglass (and rice paper)

Rice paper Trio on Plexi Glass with Artscape Rice Paperproviding the frosted look (and UV protection)

Rice paper Trio on 8 x 8 Plexi Glass with Artscape Rice Paper providing the frosted look (and UV protection)

Rice paper pair on plexiglass

Rice paper pair on 8 x 8 clear plexiglass

Autumn Jester - rice paper bird
Autumn Jester – rice paper bird (no plexiglass)

Pink and Green Fairy Bird?

Pink and Green Fairy Bird? (no plexiglass)

Simple things amuse simple minds.

Creating rice paper birds fills me with a quiet joy and delight. In a sense they are all the same bird, although they vary slightly in size and shape and are all the colours of the rainbow. Holding a piece of pink rice paper to the sunlight with a piece of green behind it and seeing how it looks in different lights thrills me. It is one thing to glue pieces of translucent paper together on a table; it is an entirely different thing to hold these same pieces of paper up to the window and see how they are completely transformed by light. As I create a rice paper birds, it is akin to having a conversation with light – I cut, I hold up to the light, maybe I glue, maybe I try another shade. For this reason, it takes about 45 minutes, give or take, to create a rice paper bird. I feel as though I could cut and glue and construct these little creatures for a very long time.

Larks at Christie Lake

Larks at Christie Lake

Since I am clearly hooked on creating rice paper birds, I have to ask how to move such birds into the world? While it is true that a handful of people have one or two such birds flying in their windows, I want to create sky-fulls of them. I like putting them together on a window, a branch, a translucent screen  and creating a pattern of movement. Flocks, families, communities of birds winging their way to an imagined sky. This led to “An Exultation of Larks” created last spring. I like seeing how they look in different venues, during different seasons, in the mornings or the afternoons or on the light of a sombre day.

This fall, I have purchased a quantity of plexiglass, cut in a whole variety of sizes as well as some glue that works well with plexi-glass (but has toxic vapours). Above you can see my first two experiments, done on 8 x 8 pieces of plexiglass. I will try sealing them with glue at the edges. (Up until now, I have been using screws.) I prefer to have no frame around the birds as I like the illusion that they can fly off into the sky. However, I also hope to experiment with real glass, circles, and thin copper or silver frames with help from a local stained glass artist.

I am currently working with a long rectangular piece measuring 28″ x 8″ and loving the challenge.