A few years back, I joked with my husband that he was officially old. Watching his colony of bluebirds thrive had risen on his priority list. Getting up early to feed them steroid munching sized worms. Only old people had time for the birds. I humbly stand corrected. I’ve been old, by that standard, for a really long time.
Recently, I came across a picture of a heron I’d painted in a mural years ago. I’d misfiled it, and I was so excited finding it, I posted it immediately on Instagram, not even noticing I’d done so, cutting off most of his head. Here he is, in all his glory.
I started thinking that I have painted quite a few birds over the years, because I think they are glorious subjects to include in a mural.
So without further ado, here are some of my absolute favorites, and a few visits going back to one of my very first murals. This was a blue glazed ceiling, simulating sky. More mood than anything else, the birds were my favorite part.
Another early mural is painted on the stockroom door at TileAmerica in New Haven. This was my early entry into trompe l’oeil painting, and so I pulled out every trick I had, exposed brick, folded paper and a porthole type window. And of course, a pair of birds.
Picking my favorite is next to impossible, but dear to my heart is this one.
Part of a wraparound dining room mural titled Eden, this solitary heron dominates the wall he is located on.
Hard to ignore my other favorites, each special in its medium and design. Measuring only a few inches in size, I think I caught a personality in this one. The fabulous gold leaf background tips the scales here.
Chinoiserie holds a fascination for me as well. Here are two traditional, but different in palette, birds.
Right up there in the high drama is another favorite. Ok, I admit, I’m starting to sound like a broken record. They can’t ALL be my favorites, can they? Well, for sure is this owl, part of a night time dome mural.
Some are pure fun, like this parrot painted in his bright finery.
Another way of inserting birds into the composition is to add eye appeal to architectural elements. In this coffered ceiling with painted fretwork, birds and foliage add movement.
Sometimes, they add a touch of whimsy like the resident bird, Cardinal O’Malley, here perched on a trompe l’oeil cornerstone.
Occasionally, I can tuck them in a mass of tree branches.
The fascination doesn’t stop at the painted image. Here is an example of a bas relief piece I created, finished in metallic copper with a hand rubbed umber brown glaze.
I may not be able to pick one favorite, but perhaps you can. I’d love to know your choice.