Birds are connected to a wonderful and diverse range of symbolism, and some species even carry spiritual meanings. A bird in flight is a fascinating and iconic image, but the whole concept of “nest building” has also entered into everyday language.
Our love affair with birds is no surprise really when you consider how these small but incredible creatures look so graceful in motion, expressive and beautifully coloured.
Which is why for centuries artists all over the world have chosen to include winged silhouettes or birds in all their splendour in a large body of their work.
Think of your favourite artists and artwork – have they included birds somewhere in their pieces? Next time you visit an art gallery, you could even add extra interest with a bird “spotting” project.
How Are Birds Used In Art?
Birds have featured in bold folk art, delicate calligraphy, cave drawings and modern art sculptures.
You will find them in some of the most famous paintings in the world, including Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael, and Magpie by Claude Monet. Picasso’s fascination with the pigeons and doves was a great source of inspiration for him. Birds are also synonymous with Street Art. They have been used by genre leader Banksy as a creative device to highlight racism.
There are even artists who predominately and memorably painted whole compositions around birds, such as America’s finest wildlife artist John James Audubon.
The intricate patterns and shades of soft feathers are part of the reason they are such an inspiration, meaning that actual or synthetic bird plumage is often used on tactile, three-dimensional art pieces.
Finding Your Own Feathered Muse
The other reason birds are such a popular form of inspiration for art, is that they are easily accessible to everyone. This includes those gifted individuals who slave to create saleable masterpieces or young children who want to draw what they see in their gardens.
It can be a fun art project for kids to create a notebook of bird pictures that keeps track of winged garden visitors. This could be photographs, drawings or paintings, or a collage using feathers, sticks and other small garden substances.
How To Get Birds To “Sit”
It can be tricky getting birds to linger on your lawn or perch on a tree limb for their “sitting”. Which is why hanging a feeder full of fat ballsor scattering bird suet pallets in a safe place – can be handy. Fat balls are a highly attractive source of nutrition and energy, which means you are more likely to get regular visitors to your garden.
Suet for birds could well be tempting enough to get winged visitors to stay around long enough to be your artistic “muse”!