You Are a Rare Bird: Idea to Image

My submission for the HOT! Texas Artists Respond to Climate Change Exhibition, sponsored by Bihl Haus Arts.  You are a Rare Bird, 16" x 20" x 2" acrylic on canvas.

 I knew my painting would have something to do with birds and incorporate my wallpaper patterns, but wasn't sure where to begin.  I did quite a bit of research on climate change and how it affects the migration patterns of birds.  Did you know that Texas is a major route for migratory birds due to our location in the central flyway?  Of all the species in the US, 2/3 can be found in Texas (most are migratory).  From the looks of our backyard birdbath, you might think the only birds we see are mourning doves and the occasional bluejay or grackle...  

The changes in weather are signaling earlier departures and changing the migratory range for many species.  Insects are hatching sooner, plants are blooming earlier and the birds are venturing further away from their normal habitats, not always finding the food and temperatures necessary for survival.  The Golden Cheeked Warbler is featured in my painting, the only bird who nests exclusively in Texas.  As their habitat is altered by urbanization and their migration affected by changing temperatures, this species is endangered.  In my afocal painting, the birds fly in every direction.  I intended for them to appear without direction and took a bit of creative license with their appearance.  Identified by their golden cheeks , the rest of the bodies were painted by memory.  They fly over a slate gray background,  covered in an abstract pattern derived from the juniper trees where the birds nest.  Dotted amidst the pattern are white raindrops, welcome weather in times of drought.  In my art, wallpaper symbolizes a familiar domestic space, a welcome home.  That home is quickly disappearing for these birds, who are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change.  It was a challenge to create this artwork, researching unfamiliar subject matter while remaining true to my creative process and style.

As with my other pieces, this began as a series of sketches that were then transferred to tracing paper.  Arranged and rearranged, the sketches were taped down once the composition was established and redrawn on canvas.  See below for the evolution of idea to image.  


  1. I love to see you thought come together on paper then on canvas! This is one of my favorites! Amore,madre


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