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    News — art project

    Birds of Paradise

    Birds of Paradise by Dawn Crothers Artist blog post

    My inspiration for this painting came from teaching my art classes to children recently, every week my art students log on and join me at my art studio virtually on zoom. We used the subject of birds last month, which got me thinking about the variety of these delicate creatures of the sky.
    We started with our feathered friends nearby such as the Blue Tit, then travelled overseas to tropical Islands. There we discovered many different species with brightly coloured feathers and beaks, it was so hard to decide which bird to paint. I decided to create a kind of collage of images of a group tropical birds, the children were delighted I could demonstrate how to sketch and paint a variety of birds as a collection.
    This is how the concept of ‘The Birds of Paradise’ painting came about, a creation of birds of multi-colours and botanical surroundings. The first bird we studied was the flamingo, everyone loves this beautiful pink coloured bird. I chose the American Flamingo as it has a deep pink plumage; primary and secondary flight feathers are black, and wings covered in red with pink legs and webbed feet. Their eyes are orange and yellow in colour. Special attention is needed when drawing the long neck, as well as the long, towering legs.
    The Scarlett Macaw is a large red, yellow, and blue Central and South American parrot, a member of a large group of Neotropical parrots called macaw. It is native to humid evergreen forests of tropical Central and South America. With a rainbow of colours to make this bird come alive I started with the white around the eye, the yellow feathers, blue and then the most dominant colour of red.

    Toucans are members of the Neotropical near passerine bird family Ramphastidae. The Ramphastidae are most closely related to the American barbets. They are brightly marked and have large, often ‘c’ shaped beaks. The family includes five genera and over forty different species. I have painted a Toucan a few times now, it reminds me of the Irish stout beer advertisements when they say, “It’s a lovely day for a Guinness”. When painting the Toucan, I enjoyed using the palette knife to create a bold thick layer of paint around its dramatic beak.

     As well as adding a few more exotic birds I added some green tropical leaves and the Bird of Paradise flower. This striking bright orange flower works so well against the main background colour of blue. This painting is available to buy on my website, also I will be launching a limited edition print of it too. I will keep you all updated on my next painting, hopefully blogs like this give you a bit more insight into my painting process. Thanks so much, please feel free to get in touch with any questions or enquiries.
    Many Thanks
    Dawn x



    Following on from last week’s home-school art project, the theme was big. This week is a self-portrait, a super cool body tracing exercise.  This project will give you and your kids lots of giggles!! Any age can join in, my eldest son Ethan is eight, he really enjoyed it and thought the outcome was so realistic. The drawing I did around him gave an accurate scale of his body. Jake is almost five and thought it was hilarious and thought he'd even make up a little dance to get in the creative mode!

    Jake Whalley Starting one of his Mum's Art Projcets Dawn Crothers

    (Jake Whalley having a little dance on his make shift canvas!)

     I think the appeal falls into three categories: scale, personal attention and filling in the blanks. The scale is BIG, and that’s fun for little kids. This body tracing therapy activity provides positive reinforcement and gives us parents a chance to encourage them to see themselves in an awesome way.

    Jake Whalley Kids Home School Art Project

    To get started you will need paper, I used an old roll of wallpaper I already had at home but anything similar would do. Once you have a roll of paper just tape it to the floor and trace around their body. Its now up to them to create their self-portrait. We used felt tips and watercolour paint, but any art materials would do. When we were finished I hung them proudly on their bedroom doors.

    Jake with his wonderful creation!

    Ethan Whalley getting creative!

    A great place to display your finished portrait creations

    Ethan eyeing up his artwork

    Why not give this little project a go and feel free to send me some of your finished creations! Feel free to photograph and upload your amazing artwork to your social media stories and tag me in them so I can see them...I'm so excited to see how you all get on!!