Birding on the Internet ~ Famous artists/bird paintings/birds

In my last blog, I wrote about discovering Picasso’s bird drawings while searching the Internet for artists who aren’t necessarily known for their bird paintings, but who did paint a bird here and there.  I also came up with a number of other hits and thought I’d share them with you.  

I’ve been a longtime fan of Frank W. Benson’s work.  He was very well known for being a successful portrait painter in his day and he also taught art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, MA.  When we lived in Maine, we would often take day trips to the island of North Haven.  On one such occasion, we visited the summer home and studio of the artist Frank W. Benson.  So naturally, I Googled Frank W. Benson/bird paintings/birds and came up with a few beautiful works by him.  

Here is a painting of white herons and lilies by Benson.  One of his many remarkable talents was capturing the light in his paintings.  The white birds against the crisp blue water create a dramatic contrast.  They make me want to pick up a brush and start painting!

Herons and Lilies, 1862 by Frank W. Benson

Herons and Lilies, 1862 by Frank W. Benson

Also, while living in Maine we visited the home/studio of the famous artist Winslow Homer in Prouts Neck.  Known for his strong seascapes, I thought I’d see what Winslow Homer/bird paintings/birds would turn up.  This is the image that caught my eye, Right and Left, a powerful image of a turbulent sea with two black ducks.  He had an ability to bring the sea right to you.  

Right and Left, 1909 by Winslow Homer

Right and Left, 1909 by Winslow Homer

Like his son Jamie, Andrew Wyeth painted and drew birds.  More known for his stark landscapes, weathered barns, and his Helga series, when I Googled Andrew Wyeth/bird paintings/birds here is what I came up with.  It is entitled Soaring, a birds eye view of three vultures circling over a stark landscape.  It is a dramatic piece, from an unusual perspective.  Full of meaning, it captured the art world’s attention in 1950.  

Soaring by Andrew Wyeth

Soaring by Andrew Wyeth

Monet/bird paintings/birds produced Magpie, one of his paintings that I’ve long admired, well before I was into birds.  Even though the black Magpie is a very small part of the overall scene, the dark bird catches your eye against the snowy landscape.  The painting has a wonderful sense of light and even though you know it’s cold, you realize the Magpie has the perfect perch in the sun.  

Magpie by Claude Monet

Magpie by Claude Monet

I did the same search for other famous artists and came up with many other interesting results.  I find it a great way to learn about how masters of landscape and seascape place birds believably into their compositions.
 
Many times the bird can play a big roll in a scene, even though it appears very small (i.e. Magpie by Monet).  In other cases, like Soaring by Andrew Wyeth, the bird is in your face and dominates the scene.  Even so, your eye travels well beyond the birds and into the painting.  

If you Google William R. Beebe/bird paintings/birds I hope you will find me and my bird art!  ☺  Googling someone is a nice form of flattery!  ☺

Thanks as always for following my art, my photography, and my journal.


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
What's next? Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe