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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: birds, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 309
1. A History of my Archive in 10 Objects. No.5: Birds, 1977

Number 5 in the History of my Archive in 10 Objects, is this triple set of bird studies from early 1977.

Buzzard, Kingfisher, Long-Eared Owl. Watercolour on paper, 1977
I was 17,  I was about to leave school and start a foundation course at the now-gone and much lamented Bournville School of Art, I was full steam ahead for a career in illustration, the world of graphic art, experimentation and adventure awaited.

But all that was in the future - in the meantime I was generating some income from selling these kinds of traditional studies in a local giftshop/framing gallery in Mere Green. The owner, Mrs Gameson, was extremely supportive of my work and gave me wall space to display and sell pictures of wildlife and familiar scenes of Sutton Coldfield, in watercolour (as here) or pen and ink. Gameson Gallery also  managed me as an artist on commission - word of mouth recommendations led me to draw many of the big houses on the private estate in Four Oaks, I'd cycle with sketchpad and ink bottle to anywhere that wanted a drawing - unfortunately this came to an end when one customer returned their house sketch, upset that I'd included the washing on her line in the drawing.

Virtually everything I painted at that time was sold by the gallery, but these three studies survived because they were a birthday gift to my mum in January 1977. I believe they were amongst my first attempts to paint in pure watercolour (that is, just paint, no pen lines).

 I carried on working with the Gameson Gallery even after I started my Foundation course, right up until I left for Manchester, Mrs Gameson gave me my first ever one-man (or one kid!) exhibition, mostly wildlife paintings. My parents were particularly proud of this and my father was disappointed when I drifted away from such work. Being an artist in the eyes of my father was to paint attractive pictures, exhibit them, sell them and put them on the wall. He could never really get to grips with my choice to be an illustrator rather than a gallery fine artist, there was a suspicion I was under-selling my talents. I'll always remember him saying "when are you going to paint a proper picture I can put on the wall?" By "proper", he meant a landscape, seascape or genre oil painting. But eventually he did come round to understanding my creative path.

The fact remains though, of all the work I created and showed my parents over all these years, the one thing that never left their walls, on display without a break for nearly forty years from 1977 until 2016, were these three bird studies.

I always wonder what became of Mrs Gameson...

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2. What’s in a fairy tale?–Birds

Birds seem to represent nearly everything. They are world travelers, stay-at-homers, tiny, gigantic, fast, slow, flying, grounded, swimming, meat eaters, seed eaters, friendly and not-so-friendly. They are gorgeous and plain, intelligent and dull, mysterious and in-your-face. They have been deemed messengers of the gods, departing souls, and guides to the spirit world. Myths and legends are […]

The post What’s in a fairy tale?–Birds appeared first on Cathrin Hagey.

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3. Two New Favorites

Every Day Birds
by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
illustrated by Dylan Metrano
Orchard Books (Scholastic), 2016

This book-length poem pays tribute to birds we see every day -- the birds so common that we should, as Amy reminds us, pay more attention and learn more about them.

Gorgeously illustrated in a unique cut-paper technique (watch a fascinating time-lapse video of him making a puffin here), this book has a natural flow that will make it a joy to read over and over again.

by Irene Latham
illustrated by Mique Moriuchi
Wordsong, 2016

I love farmers' markets! This lively book of poems pays tribute to the vast variety of foods you can find at the farmers' market. The foods are described through many senses -- tongues "buzz with pleasure" tasting honey, peach's "baby-fuzz/cheek" tickles a nose, and (my favorite) the watermelon looks like a galaxy, with the spit seeds the shooting stars.

Two new favorites, both celebrating down-to-earth joys in life -- the rich diversity of nature around us, and the delicious variety of fresh foods available from farm to table.

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4. #835 – Apples and Robins by Lucie Félix

Before you check out Apples and Robins, an amazing picture book if there ever was one, check out the winner of two Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians author signed books. Each reader who commented was assigned a number, beginning with the first comment posted. (reverse order of there placement). Using Random.org ‘s generator, the …

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5. Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures | Press Release

Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures What makes vultures unique? What two weird defense tricks do turkey vultures use to freak out their predators?

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6. New Year’s Eve fireworks cause a mass exodus of birds

As the days get shorter, the Netherlands, a low lying waterlogged country, becomes a safe haven for approximately five million waders, gulls, ducks, and geese, which spend the winter here resting and foraging in fresh water lakes, wetlands, and along rivers. Many of these birds travel to the Netherlands from their breeding ranges in the Arctic.

The post New Year’s Eve fireworks cause a mass exodus of birds appeared first on OUPblog.

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mirror, mirror on the wall...today's FEATURED PRINT is the fairest of them all!

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8. Salim Ali for Seattle Review of Books

Each week I feature a different author portrait in this Seattle Review of Books column "Portrait Gallery."

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9. On the Wing – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: On the Wing Written by: David Elliott Illustrated by: Becca Stadtlander Published by: Candlewick Press, 2014 Themes/Topics: birds, birding, verse Suitable for ages: 6-9 Example spread: Synopsis: David Elliot and Becca Stadtlander invite the reader to wonder and smile at the variety, specificity, humor, majesty and splendor of fifteen birds—from the … Continue reading

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10. Azizi and the Little Blue Bird

AziziLittleBlueBird_Cover_finalWith all the ingredients of an enduring fairy tale, Azizi and the Little Blue Bird is a charming and beautiful tale of freedom over oppression and hope over fear, with the intriguing twist that it is actually based on real-life events from just a few years ago.

Written by Laïla Koubaa, illustrated by Mattias De Leeuw and translated by David Colmer, this allegory is set in an imaginary Middle Eastern land where despotic rulers, Tih and Reni, cream the land for its riches whilst locking up those they don’t like. Thus it comes to pass that all the country’s blue birds are trapped in one huge cage inside the rulers’ palace.

Whilst Tih and Reni feast on opulent riches, a single bird manages to escape and to find the hero of our story, a young boy. Azizi climbs onto the blue bird’s back and soon they are flying over the whole country, with a garland of flowers trailing behind them, leaving a ribbon of scent as if to wake the senses of everyone they pass. Will it be enough to overthrow the tyrants and free the birds?

BI_AziziLittleBlueBird_first spread

Wonderfully rich imagery in word and illustration triggers memories of colourful bazaars piled high with riches. De Leeuw makes liberal use of smudges; creating softer, more energetic illustrations where you can feel the hand of the illustrator very close by. His use of perspective accentuates the sense of oppression: The rulers get bigger and bigger whilst their subjects become smaller and smaller.

BI_AziziLittleBlueBird_second spread

Koubaa’s timeless tale, translated with clarity and beauty by David Colmer, actually refers to a period in 2010/2011 when, during the Arab Spring. the the internet was censored and/or shut down during the uprisings, in an attempt to prevent protests from spreading over the region. The little blue birds – have you already guessed it? – refer to Twitter.

BI_AziziLittleBlueBird_third spread

For me it is really interesting to see a children’s picture book explore the positive side of social media, albeit metaphorically. When I recently looked into portrayals of social media in books for the very young, I found that the message was overwhelmingly a negative one. This book, however, would be an interesting one to include in a more nuanced discussion about the pros and cons of life online as explored through picture books.

Azizi and the Little Blue Bird is a wonderfully hopeful and evocative fairy story is about good triumphing over bad and little people being brave and clever. I hope it reaches the wide audience it deserves.

Enchanted by the vision of a sweet smelling garland of flowers spreading and hope, the girls and I raided our allotment for flowers we could thread.



Using tapestry needles (nice and big for little hands), and strong thread the girls set to threading their garland.


It was a lovely sensory experience and soon we had a good long stretch of colour and good cheer.



We added a few blue birds and our garland was complete!


Bergamot, zinnias and cornflowers (the flowers we used) all dry quite well so I’m hoping that the garland will have quite a long life.


Whilst making our flower garland we listened to:

  • I’ll Fly Away performed by Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss
  • Little Bird, Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell
  • Pãram pãram – a traditional Tunisian song, found in Songs in the Shade of the Olive Tree, a storybook and CD featuring lullabies and nursery rhymes from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading this book include:

  • Cooking couscous. The rulers in this book eat lots of couscous, and couscous is very kid-friendly food when it comes to preparation. This BBC recipe gives you some ideas for preparing a meal together.
  • Creating paper jasmine flowers. Here’s an origami tutorial. You could even scent them with jasmine essential oil.
  • Making your own (blue) birds. Here’s a tutorial for making some out of fimo (modelling clay), or how about out of cake?
  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • Making a house out of flowers alongside a lovely re-telling of the Three Little Pigs tale.
  • Creating birds out of doilies – perfect for mobiles.
  • An Iranian story about determination and freedom.
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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    3 Comments on Azizi and the Little Blue Bird, last added: 9/17/2015
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    11. Drawn Chorus Collective

    I'm working on a spread for the Drawn Chorus Collective's latest anthology; it's an alphabet book.

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    12. Symbiosis


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    13. The Little Parrot and the Angel’s Tears, by M. Anu Narasimhan | Book Review

    The Little Parrot and the Angel's Tears is a powerful allegory of overcoming insignificance.

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    14. I Like Your Shoes, by R. Stim | Dedicated Review

    I Like Your Shoes is a suspenseful read that will satisfy audiences interested in contemporary mysteries featuring dynamic characters and inventive plots.

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    15. throwback....

    to last WINTER and these two cuties....they put me in my HAPPY place! :)
    'cause this girl has had ENOUGH of this rainforest-like climate and disgustingly high levels of humidity. i just was not made to handle such conditions. perhaps that is why i am known as the "ice princess" amongst my friends. WINTER is MY season! 

    ahh, Mr. WINTER...how i miss you so. your pristine beauty from freshly fallen SNOW to clean, cold temps. i await you anxiously, my dear friend....overly anxiously perhaps....i digress. and with that being said...

    these two bits of adorableness known as Alaska and her little buddy, Aspen can be found FOR SALE here. they are ORIGINAL PAINTINGS, NOT REPRODUCTIONS.

    however, since i like to offer up choices, reproductions and other bits of deliciousness with these two featured can be found here and here as well.

    why not get yourself in the WINTER spirit now?! i surely am every. single. day.

    {i need to write/illustrate a kids book about the wonders of winter, i'm thinking....}

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    16. Bath Kids Literature Festival Fundraiser

    I just sent off my artwork to be auctioned off for this excellent fundraiser in aid of Bath Festivals:

    This is your chance to own a unique piece of original art by one of the UK’s best and most popular illustrators. Come along on the night to bid on one of several framed pieces of art – each depicting the famous Bath Children’s Literature Red Chair.
    Amazing artists including including Chris Riddell (Goth Girl), Ben Cort(Aliens love Underpants), Nick Sharratt (The Story of Tracey Beaker),  Korky Paul (Winnie the Witch), Alison Jay (Welcome to the Zoo), Michael Foreman (War Game) and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo) have all donated pieces featuring their own, entertaining interpretation of the Festivals’ iconic red storytelling chair.
    Help secure the future of the Bath Festivals internationally renowned programme of popular Festivals and be in with a chance of acquiring a piece of artwork to treasure for your family, school or business.
    An Online Auction of many more Artworks will be launched on the night.
    My picture is painted using all materials I have picked for the art lessons and workshops I'll be giving soon via The Kraken Studio - all cheap stuff but really nice.

    Go and admire the rest, there are some Mighty Fine Red Chairs to be had.

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    17. 1 kokeshi, SOLD!

    3 more to go.
    {oh, and 2 cute little penguins too ;)}

    LOVE all the ORIGINAL art on this site!

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    18. a very immature rant, mostly about things without wings


    Filed under: journeys

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    19. Gift Bag at Barnes and Noble

    I was so happy to see this Gift Wrap Company bag that I illustrated, at Barnes and Noble recently. Perfect for Spring!!!

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    20. The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist, by Margarita Engle | Book Giveaway

    Enter to win a copy of The Sky Painter, by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Aliona Bereghici. Giveaway begins April 28, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 27, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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    21. Five Family Favorites with Margarita Engle, Author of The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist

    Margarita Engle, author of The Sky Painter, selected these five family favorite children's books.

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    22. Cougar Bay Osprey

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    23. A dotty delight: Spots by Helen Ward

    spotscoverPacked with perky Dr Seuss-esque rhyme, Spots by Helen Ward (Spots in a Box in the US) is a very funny exploration of one guinea fowl’s quest for his missing spots.

    His plumage is not like the others so he sends off for dotty supplies: he wants to fit in by matching his friends. Boxes of all sorts arrive, filled with spots of different colour and size, but will any of them be spot on and what he thought he needed?

    This is an amazingly illustrated, stunningly produced book about how one guinea fowl’s quest to be like all the others leads him to discover that we don’t all need to be the same to get along; smiles, not colour of spots, is what brings us together.


    Helen Ward’s text is a delight to read aloud, full of bouncing, lively word play. Her illustrations, detailed and finely painted, zing off uncluttered white backgrounds, giving them a real sense of impact with each page turn. Not only beautiful to look at, they are also funny! From the guinea fowl with a box on his head to his dancing as he wears silvery, sparkly spots, there’s something reminiscent of the great black and white comedy heroes like Laurel and Hardy or Buster Keaton in the bird’s characterisation.


    With die cut holes, foil and sparkle, this book has been produced with great attention to detail. The pages are such that you will want to explore them with your fingers as well as eyes as you read or listen (there’s even a spread where you’ll want to get out your pencils and make your own mark – the illustration will lure you in).


    Humorous and inventive, with a subtle message about diversity and finding out who you are, Spots is a prize-worthy picture book.

    We decided to create our own flock of guinea fowl each with their own style of spots. I created a guinea fowl silhouette which we printed and cut out – you can do exactly the same by downloading this left-facing fowl and this right-facing one (in pdf format).


    We then let ourselves loose with spotty and dotty ideas, mixing stickers with printing (corks and lids), using the hole puncher to create mini dots to glue on, ink splats, collage circles, buttons, sequins – anything went as long as it was spotty or dotty.


    All in all this made for a rather grand flock – imagine how well this could work in a classroom or group setting?!


    Whilst decorating our guinea fowl we listened to:

  • Ladybug Without Spots by Randy Kaplan
  • Dots and Spots by John Bristow
  • Dotty Dimples by G.H.Green/arr.Bill Cahn – for three xylophones!

  • Other activities which would go well with Spots include:

  • Dressing up with spots. I know my girls would go mad for a box full of dot stickers and permission to cover themselves in them. I think it would look pretty cool too, especially if they were wearing something monochrome. A perfect rainy day activity!
  • Using left over plastic eggs from Easter and some feathers to make your own toy guinea fowl, using this image as a starting point (just add spots!)
  • Joining the dots. There’s a dot-to-dot guinea fowl in Spots, but rather than drawing in the book, why not print off some dot-to-dot activity sheets if you and the kids enjoy joining the dots.
  • Reading Elmer by David McKee; this is another story with a similar tale about being different and yet finding a way to feel happy.
  • Do you go in more for spots or stripes? What are your favourite picture books about either?

    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    3 Comments on A dotty delight: Spots by Helen Ward, last added: 4/15/2015
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    24. these three amigos...

    relocating to their new home on the west coast! baby boy Turner, here come your new crib buddies! :)

    these three paintings, 8x10, 9x12, 8x10, were a commission from a sweet grandma wanting some initial panels to hang above her grandson's crib. below are a few pics of the nursery...and my spin on creating something special for baby, Turner.

    please email me at enchanted [email protected] if you'd like something special created for your little one.

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    25. that amazingly bittersweet feeling you get....

    "wishful companions"
    acrylic on canvas 11x14
    ©the enchanted easel 2015
    when you sell an ORIGINAL painting....and, it's one you weren't even intending on parting with. (sniff, sniff)

    {looks like the fairest of them all will be going to a much loved new home....and i am completely humbled, as always.}

    PRINTS of her royal highness can be found HERE!

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