Art 1 – Birds of paradise – fantastic worlds – Due 3/4


Birds of Paradise

In this movie – note how fantastic these real birds of paradise are. Notice also how important their surroundings are visually. Notice how they blend in and how they stand out to appear attractive to their mate.

Leonard Baskin Raptors

Make sure you click on the link – “see the exhibit here” –  below the  image at the bottom of the article.

Max Kauffman Birds

For the first link, comment on the visual phenomenon of the birds of paradise.

For the second link, comment of the ways in which Baskin distorts and creates birds and bird creatures.  Explain the effect  his artistic choices have on meaning or overall impact.

For the third link, contrast this work with the work of Baskin and the real birds of paradise.  Is there a different mood, purpose, effect? How is it created? Which do you prefer?

Post a link that has a fantastic bird (real or imagined in the style you like best.)

Spend a full hour drawing a fantastic bird and background in preparation for a painting.


28 responses »

  1. Birds of paradise are really gorgeous. Simple adaptations become striking works of art as we examine the exhibits of the gallery known as our forests.
    They seem to make proud birds look goofy, and seem to comment on stance and its impact on our perception.
    There is a very different mood as the actual birds have a kind of contour-line elegance and antiquated regality surrounding them, like time capsules to a time where there was more wonder in nature and the very nature of life.

  2. 1. In the visual phenomenon of birds of paradise, we experience color’s significance in the natural world and the way it allows these birds to survive. Each of these markings had an evolutionary purpose, a reason to be. Yet watching them, it is hard to imagine it being beneficial to the species’ survival as a whole. Rather than using camouflage as their survival mechanism, the birds use the confusion of color to confuse predators. Their elegance and almost fantasy-like nature allows us to search for inspiration for things that don’t really exist in the real world.

    2. Baskin’s distortion of the birds gives them a surreal, unnatural air. They are ordinary birds turned extraordinary by the flick of a few brush strokes. Without the color and the distortion, the art would simply be a dark representation of things that are much more colorful in terms of internal nature than their original form would suggest. His artistic choices represent the deeper meaning of things beyond what hands can touch and what eyes originally see. For example, I will use one of my watercolor paintings I did of an abandoned building. In the process of painting it, I got so wrapped up in the little details rather than saw the true nature of the photograph I was painting from. With the help of my art teacher, Shirley Rhoades, I began to discover colors in the photo I hadn’t seen before. The result was a colorful meshing of colors bright in a painting that would normally be dark and depressing.

    3.Unlike the real birds of paradise, Kauffman’s works portray birds merged with other things in the real world like a city skyline. This forms another surreal appearance like Baskin’s vision of birds of paradise. They merge with other things and become simply parts of the rest of the painting, backdrops and swirls of color as well as the painting’s main subject. The use of colors were unlike the real birds of paradise. He employed different shades of color not normally seen in nature which gave the birds a touch of the nonexistent.

    I didn’t prefer one over the other, really. I really liked Kauffman’s colors and his use of watercolor, but I like Baskin’s sculptures and his highlighting rather than changing the colors of the birds of paradise.

    See link below.

  3. 1. Birds of paradise are incredibly colourful, much more so than our every day pigeons. The males strive to attract females with their bright smexy colours and elaborate dances. They almost seem human in their efforts.
    2. Baskin creates birds that are proportionally incorrect, like the big wooden sculpture bird. It seems as though the bird is stoic, or has just won a battle. The huge feather rifts only add to the strong theme. The round red bird looks almost regal, with the rich red colours, and reminds me of a powerful emperor. The way he alters the body parts of the birds fiddles with our perception of them.
    3. I LOVE THESE!! They’re cute and happy looking, even though they portray the common actions of real paradise birds. I would actually want one of these on my wall in my room because they just seem so happy and adorable. 🙂

    I know it’s a blogging webiste, but a lot of the birds on here are really fascinating.

  4. It’s really interesting the way we look at them thinking that the different colors, behavioral patterns, shapes etc. are strange, beautiful, or whatever we think and yet to the birds it has so much significance and meaning. They have this really exotic appeal to them and yet they all share this really familiar and normal trait of looking the way they do to mate.

    Baskin uses a lot of black and white in his artwork that creates a dramatic effect that’s very dark and grim. When he does use color, he still uses a darker range. There’s no neon or pastel in his work, and so the result is, as they mentioned, reminiscent of a nightmare-type bird. He also does fantasy birds with proportions that are pretty far out that helps create the feeling of the birds.

    The third link has these super playful, colorful, imaginative birds. It’s similar to Baskins in the sense that they both remind me of the dreamworld but the emotion that is evoked by them is completely different. The real birds of paradise are strange but not in the same way as the artwork is to me,

    This link has pretty funny ones, but they’re super creative

  5. It was amazing how the birds of paradise could transform and expand. I liked the different movements and dances they did to show off to their mates. It was also interesting how they still blended into their surroundings even though they were so colorful. Leonard Baskin excentuates the features of the raptors and he puts them in places whereyou would not expect them. For example, in his self portrait he makes his hair the wings of a bird. His pieces show the unevitability of death and the undefeatedness of dying. The birds seem more dream like in the last link but they are still very similar to the birds of paradise. They both have intricate feathers and bright colors. I like the Max Kauffman birds because they are more imaginative. The link I found has some very cool birds.

  6. Alright, so since my first post was deleted or didn’t somehow get posted, I’ll re-do it. I’m sorry it’s not going to be as well- written as the original…

    1. I loved looking at the birds of paradise, and the colours they exhibited. It was really interesting that there’s so many different birds, yet they all do generally the same thing concerning mating rituals. I also find it quite entertaining that when the male birds try to attract the females, they do a dance routine that could be that of a human dancer. They’re fascinating.

    2. Baskin seems to change the proportions of the birds’ body parts in order to give off a different effect. He often makes the feet of the bird look strong, almost like building pillars, and that emits the vibe of strength and stoic motives, almost as if the bird has just won a battle of some sort. In other paintings, he merges the birds with humans, which makes it seem as though we have something in common (like I mentioned above with the dancing).

    3. I LOVE THESE BIRDS If I could have one of them painted onto my wall I would. They’re adorable and happy, incredibly cartoonized but still have the colours that are in the real birds of paradise. They make you want to smile back at them. I prefer these, though I’m not quite sure why. They’re not necessarily NEATER, but they are just more aesthetically pleasing.

    These are some impressive drawings on National Geographic’s website :

  7. 1) I was completely blown away by the birds of paradise!!! Each bird had its own special way of attracting a female, whether it was using shape, color, decoration, dace or sound. I especially liked the bright red bird if paridice with the little baubles hanging off its tail, because the color of the bird was so vibrant combared to the background of greens and browns and its tail so elaborate and otherworldly. Most of the birds had flashy colors that made them stand out aganst the forest scenery. Though a few of the birds were mostly or compleety black they mde up for their lac of color by contorting themselfs into crazy shapes, interesting dances and beautiful songs.

    2) When i was look at bakin’s art, I realized that he often combines birds with humans, usually making them more bird than human. He enlarges the legs and makes the birds more stalky. He also goes for the shock factor, especially in the drawing where the pelican is stabbing itself with its own beak. I think his paintings are intense and interesting. My favorite birds of his are in the watercolor section of his website. I love how many colors he uses and how they make the birsa apear free and playful, and extreem contrast to the suicidal pelican.

    3) I love his birds. He really gives each individual bird its own personality by using different colors and styles for each! they are all very creative. My favorite was ‘Down a Few pegs’. This arwork appears happier and freer then the raptors.

    4) not exactly fanciful birds……….

  8. I too am astounded by these birds. It’s amazing how they appear semi-normal but then do something unexpected like contorting their wings into weird shapes. I also love their coloration. Some have very bright, contrasting plumage, and some are darker with iridescent highlights. However, my favorite visual aspect was the way they move, or “dance.” It’s completely insane.

    Like FiddleGirl, I noticed that Baskin anthropomorphizes his birds. He also works mainly in black and white, and if he includes color, its usually darker, muddier tones or more washed out. These techniques give his art a sinister, foreboding feeling.

    I find Kauffman’s birds rather cartoonish, in a sort of dark way. He definitely uses more color and perspective than Baskin, and as a result his work comes to life a little more. I don’t prefer either artist though–I find Baskin’s work bleak and Kauffman’s work too busy and crowded.

    I found this whole National Geographic gallery of Birds of Paradise fascinating:

  9. 1. These birds of paradise are just extraordinary. So many different adaptations and behaviors that you just don’t see anywhere else. Such vibrant colors and displays are truly amazing.

    2. Baskin seems to have been fascinated by the darker, harsher side of birds. The lines are bold and stark. The drawings are are not an attempt to record the birds’ appearances, but rather to convey their nature and cruelty.

    3. The effect created by the surreal depictions of birds is one of whimsy and confusion. They’re more colorful, and the birds are in strange landscapes or situations. I prefer these of Baskin’s work, they’re happier and sillier.

  10. 1) These birds of paradise are very cool. Its a wounder how they evolved all of that just to attract a mate. At first they seem semi normal but suddenly they explode into an otherworldly display. I especially liked the bird who put his wings over his head and moved his head from side to side to try and attract the mate. I always feel so sad if the bird is turned down. He just worked so hard.

    2) I don’t really like Baskin’s work, just has a weird unatral unsettling feel. He’s making the birds look vicious and strange, like strange monsters. It’s weird.

    3) I like these birds. There colorful and chearful and not at all as dark as Baskin’s birds. The surreal almost cartoonish way in which he draws the birds helps the overall feel of his work which is happy and cair free, almost childish. But not childish in a sloppy way, childish in a good way, like days were you, as a young child, spent your day in an imagened faryland. I’m not sure if that makes any sense but that’s what i feel.

    This bird mural is really awesome.

  11. The birds of paradise and their amazing plumage and ornaments were really beautiful, I find it fascinating that such a simple concept or creature, the bird, could evolve to be one of the most complex visual creatures on the planet, having things that are clearly not very useful for flight or survival, such as the ball like things attached by lines of what looks to be long spindly feathers.

    The second link and the photos within were really cool mainly because of how it showed emotion in the work. In works like photography you are often able to show things and express beauty in amazing ways, but in complex media like he is using it really allows emotion and artistic style to flourish. Some of the pieces use human attributes on birds or vice versa, this is really pretty cool, especially because of how the emotion and representation of what he is doing is expressed so well through the work.

    Baskin really does not express the same type of wonder and awe in his work as much as he does emotion and secrecy, the real birds of paradise being strewn with color and beauty and Baskin using color sparsely and using black and white or deep colors more often than bright ones.

    Other than that I think that topical birds and the color and personality that they express is awesome and I enjoy the photos and videos that surround them.

  12. 1.) The paradies birds were really interesting. The birds don’t look real because I never thought of birds having that type of shape or color. Most of them are bright and colorful which I really like. I also really like that when I male tries to get a mate it does a little dance. The dance was really strange but cool looking.
    2.) He has very intersting art. In his pictures he either has the bird hidden with a background or he has the bird standing tall like a person. I personaly like the birds hidden because then I stare at the picture longer. It makes me find the bird and decided what parts of the bird I want to see. Rather than the bird just being there.
    3.) I like the work he a lot. They are all different and exciting. I like them more than the paradise birds becuase the paradise birds were pretty and real but Max Kauffman’s are different and you can really see that he came up with them himself. Which makes them even better.
    4.) They are real birds but they are pretty cool.

  13. 1) I really liked the video on the birds of paradise. I’m so used to just seeing crows and other common birds that aren’t too spectacular or eye catching. I enjoyed seeing all the variations of birds and how they are all located in one jungle. It would be worth it to venture into the mountain jungles to get a glimpse of these birds.

    2) The birds from the second video seem very big and powerful. They are distorted so they appear larger and the colors and shape of the birds make them appear menacing. The birds aren’t realistic, but they have the right features and proportions.

    3) The birds from the second link are interesting in their own way. They seem very imaginary as if from a cartoon version of paradise. I like how some of their features are exaggerated and the perspective is skewed in some. It seems like the birds are also made up of different parts and components.

    Sunset flight

  14. 1. My favorite part of this link was that all of these beautiful birds have unique dances that they use to lure in mates. Some of them even look like some human dances. The fact that all of these birds are located in one single jungle is also very cool because the variety in one space is truly incredible.

    2. His art is interesting because some of the pictures are like a wheres waldo. Because he hides some of the birds behind the landscape. But his pictures also have birds that are in the forefront and interesting in the way that you can make out all of the detail.

    3. These birds are very bright and happy almost compared to Baskin’s birds. I like these birds more because it shows off the bright and vibrant colors of the birds and also has a lot of detail. Overall I think that these birds are more interesting to look at then Baskin’s because they are just more eye catching with the bright colors.

  15. 1. Much of the appeal of the birds of paradise is in how they can transform so dramatically from a relatively ordinary bird into something otherworldly. Seeing them makes us wonder what else might metamorphose from mundane to magical; they allow us to believe in an unknown and wondrous world just beyond our perception, waiting to turn and take flight. Might there be a bird of paradise inside of us, an alien, undaunted self ready to flower into a phantasmagoria of color?

    2. Baskin’s birds are so surreal in part because they are often quite close to reality. Many of his most appealing works are fairly normal birds, but with a smell, unsettling distortion which is hard to pin down. The viewer feels that the bird is different in some major way, but the distortion is not obvious. My favorite pieces in the exhibit are the birds which successfully live somewhere in between the real and surreal.

    3. Kauffmen’s birds are distinctly dreamlike, incorporating a haze of symbols to give his paintings emotional weight and precise tone. Kauffmen departs from Baksin in that his birds are more cartoonish, almost reminding me of Pokemon.

  16. The colors of the birds differ wildly, from cool icy blue to crimson red to bright yellow to deep green. It’s startling to see how the colors don’t seem to mix. The different body shapes and appendages were also very fascinating (I think one bird had a heart-shaped body). Some seem to be straight out of a twisted fairy tale.

    Baskin does a lot of really cool things to make the birds express real emotion and draw the viewers eye at the same time. Often, he’ll just shade the birds in lines, like the bird was shattered glass. These birds are abstractions, not quite resembling any specific bird but rather the traits we associate with most birds.

    Kauffman does the other side of abstraction, where his birds are not fearsome and ambiguous, but cartoon-y and bizarre. There are plenty of cool paintings by Kauffman that fully realize interesting unique birds, and he paints in a very vivid palette that makes his works really stick out. However, I much prefer Baskin for his bleak and minimal approach.

  17. 1. The Birds of Paradise are amazing. No, seriously. I actually wanted to watch that movie after seeing the video. I mean, the fact that they had, through natural selection and evolution, survival of the fittest, and other Darwinian methods, come to be something so outlandish and bizarre, is just awe inspiring. I look at them and all I can say is wow. They are a real marvel of nature, in my opinion. There are, of course, practical reasons they look so flamboyant, such as finding a suitable mate, but it is still crazy to see.
    2. Baskin distorts his birds in a way that makes you feel a little bit scared. I was looking at them and was sort of uneasy, in a way. They’re mainly black and white, which already takes some of the positive spin of fantastical birds away, but then he sort of warps them into these half human creatures that you see and want to run away from, and yet at the same time you admire for their detailed work and precise lines. It’s intimidating.
    3. Kauffmen’s birds are very different. They are whimsical and happy and make you feel like you are dreaming when you look at them, as opposed to Baskin’s which verge on making you feel like you’re in a nightmare. They seem less focused on professionalism and more on the feeling the birds give you when you look at them. Kauffmen was probably in a better place while drawing those birds than Baskin was when he drew his. Not for sure, but I’m just taking an educated guess there.

  18. 1. These birds were really pretty, they were kinda mind blowing. I like that they were all different in their own ways, and that they all have individual ways of attracting the female birds. They have funny dances and beautiful colors and what not.
    2. Baskin seems to like combinding things. He has like half bird, half human, things. I kinda like this actually because I sometimes draw similar drawings–not as pretty of course–but alike in the thinking.. He makes the legs longer or makes the bird-humans look really strong. The drawings are pretty intense but also very interesting. There is a darker side to these baskin art works than the others, but I find it quite fascinating.
    3. I love these birds. They are very personal and have beautiful colors and styles. I don’t really know witch of these three bird things I prefer most, but this one really drew my attention. This one is not as dark and cruel, but more free and light and happy. It is kinda like a world you would read about in fantasy books about unicorns and rainbows in some child book.

  19. 1. I thought the birds of paradise were so cool and interesting, in the way that they were all extremely different but all outlandishly colorful. It’s almost kind of comical to see them in such a natural environment, because they almost look like they were dipped in paint.
    2. I think Baskin’s work is almost unsettling because of the way he distorts the proportions of the bird and makes them look extremely strong and uses dark colors.
    3. I really liked Max Kauffman’s work (especially in contrast to Baskin’s). The drawings just seemed so whimsical and carefree. It almost seems like something out of a dream.
    I was really interested in Max Kauffman’s work so here is more of it:

  20. 1. The birds of paradise are really unique. They have vibrant color patterns and strange body features that I haven’t actually seen before.
    2. Baskin’s work is quite interesting. He focuses mostly on distortion of the individual appendages of the birds and less on color and overall form.
    3. Max Kauffman’s work is very vibrant. It was a complete contrast to Baskin’s because of how bright the colors were and how much emphasis he put on the overall form of the birds.
    4. Here are some interesting photos I found—Version-4

  21. 1. These birds were really pretty, they were kinda mind blowing. I like that they were all different in their own ways, and that they all have individual ways of attracting the female birds. They have funny dances and beautiful colors and what not.
    2. The birds from the second video seem very big and powerful. They are distorted so they appear larger and the colors and shape of the birds make them appear menacing. The birds aren’t realistic, but they have the right features and proportions.
    3. The effect created by the surreal depictions of birds is one of whimsy and confusion. They’re more colorful, and the birds are in strange landscapes or situations. I prefer these of Baskin’s work, they’re happier.
    4. This link has a video of an awesome bird

  22. 1. birds of paradise are amazing. I was impressed by the beauty of the birds’ color composition and the way they acted. For example, the dancing bird is really funny.
    2. Baskin created birds which are lively elegant instead of cartoonish. I felt his focus is interesting and different from imitating. His work reflect the modes of birds. They can be either predator or prey; his drawings of birds are both defendless and undefeatable.
    3.I think the third link is more abstract comparing to the former ones. The artist used strong and impressing color composition to highlight the birds. Although it seems cartoonish, I think the birds are more personated. I like that better because it reflects more information to me. On the other hand, the use of color is very delightful.

    here is a interesting link with fancy birds:

  23. The birds of paradise were wild and different. Each color was unique and didn’t blend with the rest of the bird but the colors matched each other beautifully

    The Baskin Birds were beautiful and weren’t exactly characters but conveyed feeling. they were all very unique

    The birds in the third link were conveyed with strong colors and seemed more abstract. there was a very sinical feeling to some but they were still whimsical

  24. 1. The birds of paradise is amazing, it attracts so much! The video shows the evolution over time in the natural world. The birds obey the natural selection, they try to adapt the environment, so they change their colors or shapes in order to survive. And the result is that creates so many kinds of beautiful species. And the males and females use their sound, their attractive color to interest others.

    2. I really like Baskin’s art! And I notice that all his work represents the plump wings of the birds. And he shows the feet of the birds in all his works except these birds which their plump wings hide their feet. And their feet are like hooks, looks really sharp. And he is really good at showing the natural part of the birds–their feet, wings…

    3. Bakin’s birds more focus on the natural part, and show different motions of birds. However, Max Kauffman’s arts combine other part of life and birds, which represent nature. His arts reflect more information and events to people. And also he uses a very cute and cartoonish way to show that. FOR ME, I prefer Max Kauffman’s birds.

    4. I really like this bird:

  25. 1. This video was incredible. It’s truly amazing that birds like that really exist. They look like something made up, or like walking art. Although they are all gorgeous birds, a few of them were slightly scary, especially the black one that made its body into an oval with just two piercingly blue eyes.
    2. Baskin’s bird distortions and creations were also pretty alarming to me. The way he morphed the birds with humans, and gave them humanoid characteristics was disturbing but still very powerful. Also the fact that many of the birds were dead or had the presence of death in the artwork was morbidly dramatic.
    3. I liked these birds much more than Baskin’s work, as they had a much more whimsical and colorful mood. They remind me of artwork that my cousin does and is up in my aunt’s house, so the familiarity of it might be part of why I enjoy it more than the other one.

    4. I found this bird to be incredible:

    • It’s interesting to see the different preferences of people for these different artists. It may be that familiarity plays a role but as many have said, they prefer the whimisical nature to the more serious nature of Baskin’s. Does your cousin have any work online to share with us?

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