Art 1 – Audubon Birds & stylized birds – Due 2/4

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WATCH BOTH OF THE SHORT VIDEOS AND COMMENT ON

1)  3 INTERESTING BIOGRAPHICAL ASPECTS,

2) 3 INTERESTING AESTHETIC ASPECTS OF THE WORK (i.e. THE COMPOSITION, TEXTURE, COLOR, CONTRAST – THE FORMAL CHARACTERISTICS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT),

AND

3) DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE BIRD PAINTING AND EXPLAIN WHY, CONSIDERING THE DETAILS OF THE SUBJECT, COMPOSITION, AND MOOD.

FOR THE SKETCHBOOK – SPEND AN HOUR DOING STYLIZED FANTASY BIRDS, INSPIRED BY THE LINK BELOW OR YOUR IMAGINATION.  DO NOT COPY.

Stylized Birds

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33 responses »

  1. I found the ways in which the artwork depicted the natural environments around the birds as well as the plant and animal life that could affect them really cool. Especially for a time in which photography was not around, this was really amazing. In terms of techniques in the work, I really enjoyed the vibrant colors and the tactile feel of the animals, they seemed to pop off the page and give really emotion to the art. I also liked the way in which the background melted like if you were only paying attention to the foreground in real life, giving it a great illusion of depth. I also liked how the birds were always doing something related to their type of bird like eating or swimming, never just a blank photo to illustrate what they looked like. My favorite piece is the one in which there are two birds returning to their nest to be greeted by a massive snake, the jaws of the snake open and lunging at the bird, and it’s expression and movement as if it was scared to death. The colors and realism of the snake and birds was fascinating given the lack of a tactile model.

  2. Three biographical facts: Audubon had no artistic training, didn’t know a lot about birds, and had no funding. Three aspects of the work were that the animals are shown in their natural environment, Audubon tried to show the personality of the bird and he captured a wild feeling. May favorite painting had three birds facing each other in a tree standing on a branch. some leaves are dead and crumpled. i like the colors. One is looking up at the other two birds with its red beak open. It has a brown breast and blue wing. There is some movement-either just landed or just about to take off.

  3. Three biographical facts:
    1. Audubon had not training in the art
    2. he had no funding either
    3. did not know really anything about birds
    Three aesthetic points:
    1. I really liked the swan in the water with lilies around it
    2. In Audubon there was a nice contrast with the water because I could see the whole swan in the water too.
    3. I also really liked all the very colorful birds looking at each other and i could really see the detail on the wings.
    My favorite Picture was of a duck type thing with a pink body and a huge bill. there was such a difference in the body type that i really thought they were two different hings all together.

  4. 1. I thought it was interesting how dedicated he was, drawing over 400 birds accurately, how he had no real artistic training or knowledge of birds, and he still managed to make a very dependable book that both scientists and artists use in their work.
    2. His birds are very colorful and vivid contrasting with the white backdrop. The details in the face, and the feathers portray the characteristics of the birds and make them very life-like. He seems to be very good at shading as it is shown in the picture of the swan along the neck. Also, the part of the swan that is under water shows that he has great skill in making things look realistic.
    3. I like the picture of the hawk carrying the fish because of the detailed expressive face on both the bird and the fish. The feathers on the hawk are so detailed that it almost looks like a photograph. The dramatic expression of the animals seem to show that the hawk is a predator.

  5. Audubon appeared to be a very interesting and brave person. He set out to draw the birds of America with no artistic training, and very little knowledge of the birds themselves, and no funding. Between the years of 1819-1838 Audubon took it upon himself to draw illustrations of birds that are absolutely beautiful and exact. He used bold colors, contrasting colors that made each individual part of the bird stand out. In some bird illustrations the birds appear to be moving, their essence captured. I thought the Audubon succeeded in drawing beautiful illustrations, but to me each bird had the same feel. They were all very exact but not individuality or free flowing. That is most likely why ornithologists mainly use his work as oppose to other’s. The shading and detain on the birds Is amazingly accurate and lifelike, and their facial expressions give them and almost human personality. My favorite illustration was the one of the swan, most likely because it was the one I had the most time to observe and appreciate. I think almost everything about this swan is fantastic. From the feat being portrayed under the water, to the detail in the face and feathers.

  6. Three biographical facts: Audubon had absolutely no artistic training, yet was able to pain some of the best nature paintings known today. I also found it curious/interesting that an old woman had the copper plates that corressponded to his book “Birds of America”. He had absolutely no funding, and knew nothing about birds.
    Fun Fact: There’s a company that makes stuffed animal birds with little voice boxes in them that my mom used to buy my sister and I as kids. The company was called “Audubon’s Birds of America” and I never knew who Audubon was.
    Three Interesting Aestetic aspects: Audubon’s ability to express the emotion in the faces of the birds, as well as movement, was incredible. He also puts out the texture of the birds’ feathers extremely well, and I love his use of the background around the birds, showing their natural habitat.
    My favourite painting by him is the one (in the second video) with the hawk carrying a fish out over the water. The motion of the hawk is really clear, the wings big and obviously being ruffled by the sea wind. It’s just a really powerful piece, even though it’s just depicting part of the circle of life that’s taken for granted.

    • Now you have come full circle from the childhood toy to knowing about the inspiring art. Do you still have one of those birds? There is also a Audubon Society, devoted to the study and preservation of birds. They support great bird photography and publish a monthly magazine, in addition to scientific and environmental work.

  7. 3 interesting biographical aspects:
    1. He started without any artistic training
    2. he wasn’t an ornithologist
    3. he didn’t have any funding

    3 interesting aesthetic aspects of the work
    1. the color is very soft
    2. the birds look very life-like
    3. the hand made aspect doesn’t detract from the realism and pathos of the works

    My favorite painting is the one in the second video at 0:58, because, without photography, he captured the bird in mid-flight, in it’s own habitat, as though it were doing what it would normally do. And everything, from the curve of the bird’s wing to it’s feet gripping the bird seem so real.

    • He had to spend hours observing the flight of the bird to get such a lifelike pose because he couldn’t take advantage of photography in the same way we would today. I also like that those curves in the drama of the scene work so well in the positive-negative space dynamics of the picture plane.

  8. Biographical:
    1. I thought it was interesting that he didn’t have any artistic training or teachings. It’s always fun to see people so naturally talented!
    2. He had someone working with him that engraved his sets of birds.
    3. He determined enough to produce so many different sets of birds.

    Aesthetic aspects:
    1. The colors are so beautifully blended and it comes all from engravings.
    2. The birds always have at least one eye showing, and they always stand out quite a bit.
    3. None of the birds are very dramatized. They’re portrayed just like they would be in nature, and no more.

    I really liked the one that was a puffin or a pelican or one of those types of birds. (I really know almost nothing about birds, so…) I enjoyed that the colors were so vivid but he drew them in a way that you could believe they were realistic even if you had never seen a bird like that. And the detail in the beak and the eye were exquisite. He has quite a talent for birds!

    • You touch on one of the points of controversy of his work – some think that he overdramatized the scenes. But actually, nature is quite dramatic, isn’t it, with life and death struggles!

  9. Biographical Aspects:
    1.Audubon had no art training
    2.Knew nothing about birds
    3.Had no funding

    Interesting Aspects:
    1.Colors were always soft, no harsh colors
    2.Showed at least one eye every time
    3. Showed the birds natural habitat

    My favorite was the swan becuase it was done very well. Audubon did a great job on the water and the feathers. The feathers had dimensions. They weren’t just all on one perspective you could tell thta there were different layers of feathers. That really make the bird look realistic.

  10. I thought 3 interesting biographical aspects that were interesting were that he was just naturally talented and didn’t have any formal training, he wasn’t funded by anyone, and he didn’t know much at all about birds.
    I thought 3 interesting aesthetic aspects were that all the birds were scientifically correctly portrayed, the texture in the birds feathers, and how he always displayed the birds in their natural habitat.
    My favorite painting is the one of the hawk/falcon (?) in flight grabbing a fish in the second video because he was able to portray the movement of the bird.

    • I think he had talent but I’m sure that it did not come easily and was the result of lots of hard work and self-analysis, self-teaching. You can see in his earlier work that he polished his skill over the years.

  11. Biographical aspects I thought were very interesting were:
    1: That he had very low amounts of funding, and usually large art projects are started by a large financial incentive.
    2: That he had no artistic training and that he insisted that all of the drawings be done in color and as accurately as possible.
    3: That he had no prior knowledge of birds, he learned as he drew both artistically and bird wise.
    Aesthetic aspects I enjoyed were:
    1: That the birds were all drawn in their natural habitats
    2: That while the swan was in the water you could see the underwater part of the swan as well.
    3: The detail in each of the birds, especially in the wings truly amazed me.
    My favorite picture is the one with the four little birds on the hanging branch because there seem to be two sets of them. The colors and detail of where the colors belong is amazing as well as the detail in the feathers. What makes this my favorite however is that the background is simple and so is the branch the birds are on. This makes it so that your eye is drawn to the beauty and color of the birds not the surrounding. The overall mood of this painting is very happy with the birds looking like they are chirping to each other.

  12. Audubon didn’t have artist training and completely lack of funding. However, he hand drawing a mass of portrayals with natural talents. His works of birds are nice colored, drew with kinds of textures. At the same time they were filled with some details. The birds were also scientifically depicted and looked just the right. In addition, he drew the environment as well, which the elements enriched the whole picture. My Favorited one is the bird which caught a bird from the water. The bird looks very strong and sturdy. also, the portrayal seems very lively through the action.

  13. Three facts: Audobon had absolutely zero training or funding, just raw talent, and also knew little to nothing of the birds he was painting/drawing.
    I really enjoy how the birds seemed extravagant yet still articulate, with little to no embellishment just subtle stylization.
    I enjoyed: I enjoyed the varieties in texture, which fortified the pieces but did not actually distract from the pieces themselves. Additionally, I enjoyed the very stylized scenes where birds that wouldn’t typically be together but share a habitat were depicted shoulder to shoulder, in a somewhat cramped yet flourishing scene. Last but not least, the soft colors were really striking as they were subtle and not really very showy, but altogether- wham.
    Not to be a sheep but my favorite was probably the swan. There was so much going on there.

  14. Three biographical aspects:
    1. Audubon had no artist training.
    2. He knew nothing about birds.
    3. He didn’t have any funding.

    Three aesthetic aspects:
    1. His art works are full of the environmental elements, which well represent the natural parts of the whole process.
    2. His paintings well show the birds’ beautiful details to us.
    3. And in generally, the combination of environment and birds and colors are planned just right. The colors are soft. And the all kinds of birds are put in its certain environments.

    My favorite one is the swan. The swan is so real and full of life. For example, the swan’s wings are so pretty, full and plump. What’s more, if you look more carefully, you can see the swan’s eyes are shinning. And about the environmental parts, he shows one detail, which attracts me, is that the stone in the bottom of the water. it makes the whole painting more vivid.

  15. Aesthetic:
    1) I like that you can see the whole swan even though it is Halv way under water.
    2) there are no harsh colors that really catch your eye and when when you look at the painting everything just seems natural and calm.
    2)That the birds had to be in color and in their natural habitat.
    Biographical:
    1) that he had no artistic training was shocking to me, sense Audubons paintings are so beautiful.
    2) That Audubon had no fonding.
    3) That he learned as he drew both bird wise and artistically.
    One of my favorite bird paintings was the one with the puffin, i think it was, because you could really see its personality and Audubon used very pretty colors. You can really see life in its baby blue eyes, and the background is so simple that you only need to focus in the beauty if the bird.

  16. 1) I thought the interesting biographical aspects were a) that he had not been trained and yet he was still able to capture the birds so accurately, which is hard to do with any image, let alone a moving one. I can’t imagine how difficult that would be. b) He hadn’t studied birds or knew any more than the average person and c) there was very limited funding, so he really had to stretch the money to create his artwork.

    2) In a lot of the images there’s a very blank background, usually a pastel shade, with a few leaves or other things to show the habitat of the bird. So that’s one interesting aesthetic aspect. Another is the texture he creates using lines to give the bird movement in it’s feathers and body. Lastly is the way he draws the birds with personality-often poised with a surprised or curious expression.

    3) My favorite painting was the one with the two smaller birds who were kind of looking at each other. It looked like they were talking and going “Who’s that strange guy painting us? What’s he up to?” I liked how curious and playful they looked together.

  17. Biographical Aspects

    1) Audubon had no artistic training
    2) He knew little about ornithology but accurately depicted the birds
    3) He worked for 19 years with no funding

    Aesthetic Aspects:

    1) The background is always white. I think this takes away from the artwork a little because Audubon could’ve shown which season the birds were most prominent.
    2) A lot of the colors are pale shades which give the impressions of mist on the beaches for instance.
    3) The birds are always the main focus of the picture.

    My favorite artwork was with the brightly colored birds looking at each other in the beginning of the video. They seem happy and beautiful and cheery.

  18. What captivated me about Audubon was that his birds was so scientifically precise even though he knew little about ornithology. Also, he had zero artistic training and no professional publishing or funding, so it’s amazing that he produced four massive volumes of engravings.

    Aesthetically, his work is pleasing because the foreground of the bird and the background contrast mildly. I also appreciate how each bird is placed in it’s natural habitat, and how many birds are in motion.

    My favorite bird is the one at 1:13. I believe it’s a Great Blue Heron (?) I like it because the bird’s plumage is detailed and the background has nice perspective.

  19. Biographically:
    1) He wasn’t an ornithologist, yet he decided to catalog every bird in North America.
    2) He did even without funding.
    3) I also found it interesting that he liked to exaggerate about his life.

    Aesthetically:
    1) The paintings seem to be slightly dull as if the subjects were being painted on a cloudy day.
    2) They look like they would be rough to the touch.
    3) There are a lot of browns and dark greens.

    I like the great blue heron because of the shade of blue on the wings. I also like the cedar wax wings because they look very soft.

  20. 1. I found it incredible that he had no artistic training
    little knowledge of birds
    and still made one of the greatest natural history publications of all time.
    2. Three things about the paintings themselves i found interesting were the bright colors of the birds
    the lighter use of color in the background
    and how he expressed the feathers kind of whimsically rather than all the same.
    3. my three favorites were the turkeys
    the wood peckers
    and the bird and the snake

  21. I think it is true art when the artist has no idea what the hell he or she is doing! That’s what I found most interesting. This man came in with no experience when it came to either birds or art, plus the fact that he was working with a nonexistent budget! What I most enjoyed about the paintings was the amazing clots. They were not only vibrant, but completely magical. The color went past realistic, and made the reality seem even more enjoyable than just a good painting. I also was amazed by the fine detail and the way he includes the entire environment. My favorite work was the painting with the bird about to be attacked by the snake. The way he is able to make it seem like a photograph of an actual moment in time is incredibly. Like the snake and bird might just start moving!

  22. Sorry it took me so long to make up this post. Anyway, I think it’s so cool that some kid just found all those copper plates in a factory. People don’t do that anymore, just find cool historical things lying around. The closest thing to that that has happened to me was finding an old penny in my garage. It makes you wounder what else is just lying around out there in peoples attics and basements or in dumps. It’s also cool how Audubon had no artistic or ornithological (is that a word) training, he just decided to make a book on birds and so he did it. It takes real determination to work on a project like that for such a long time and in his case it payed off. What I wounder though, is how he did all this with no funding. One doesn’t buy 180 copper plates, learn how to engrave them and then go out and find all the birds he wanted to draw without spending some cash. And if he had no funding where did he get all the money?

    Its so incredible how realistic some of his drawings are. They look like you could just peel them off the page and they would fly away. I’m not sure how he did it with no training, but I like it. Audubon painted the birds in there natural environment which I think was a great idea. Because the birds he drew evolved to be in that aria, they tend to look good in it. I also like how he gives each bird a character, you can tell exactly what kind of person they would be if they were people.

    My favorite picture is the one of the small birds at 0.48. The vibrant colors pop on the white and brown background. Also, you can tell there having a heated argument about bird politics or something. The two more colorful ones feel very strongly about what they have to say and there both saying something very specific and very important, but there doing it at the same time so neither can hear the other. The other two birds are felling awkward and wondering if they could slip away without anyone noticing. I might be making that up, but that’s what I thinks going on in the secret lives of birds.

    • Well, I doubt he bought all the copper plates at once; little by little he worked, got better, produced more plates and his art funded more art.There is a film posted on the Art 2 blog that will give you more information about how his art career developed. I like your comment about “bird politics”! They definitely seem to be having a heated debate!

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