Studio Pictures: MindfulDrawing.com

 

Paula’s prints are at Etsy.

Here is Jamie’s Poetry website, a website full resources.

Saunter through Patricia’s colourful garden here!

Marts, For Much Deliberation is one Trinidadian geographer’s attempt to compile as much geographical information as possible from existing internet resources. Very interesting!

Sybille’s, my Italian art friends, most colourful website is here.

Lilliya’s beautiful Etsy shop is here. You should see how she combines wood with silver. Elvish, magical, very skillful and beautiful.

Linda is a great and unstoppable illustrator and story-teller. Enjoy her weekly blogposts here.

Stay happy & healthy,

Paula

 

 

Two Female Eclectus Parrots, Eclectus roratus

Eclectus Parrot

Two Female Eclectus roratus, copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer

In my former post (click here), I tell a story of two Welsh swans and their adopted goose. How talking to a Welsh RSPB officer informed my husband and I about the existence of  homosexual birds, a fact that was new to me. As a result of this knowledge, I came to think that my bird portfolio was 100% representing my life, with my husband, depicting birds as couples, sometimes with eggs or chicks. I had failed to include homosexual birds and I made that up by drawing two male Black Grouse.

Korhoen Black Grouse original & print

Two Black Grouse; original & framed print

Choosing two colourful male birds was easy, but finding colourful female birds turned our to be difficult because female birds tune down their colours in order to stay unnoticed while breading and rearing chicks. I thumbed through all my bird-guides but couldn’t find colourful female birds. Lucky, I have a niece, Jenna, soon to be a Veterinary Assistant and already working as a zookeeper. Jenna van der Vet needed only a few minutes to come up with: ‘Eclectus Parrot’. Well, if you don’t know which bird that is, as me, and you google ‘Eclectus roratus’ you get a very enjoyable and colourful result. See, the male Eclectus is green and the female is blue-red. What more to wish for? I’m very grateful to Jenna, for advising me on this exotic bird that wasn’t listed in my European bird guides.

For a long time ornithologist thought that the green males and blue-red females were different parrot species. It is unusual for a female bird to differ from her male counterparts and if they do differ, they aren’t wearing bold colours. The red-blue Eclectus parrot makes you wonder how the canopy she chooses to breed in, in the wild, looks like. How can her blue-red plumage protect her? She is stunningly pretty.

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Two females sit closely together, grooming each-other. To confirm their bond, I have given them golden rings. Gold, really? Yes, you can’t possible give a dull ring when they, themselves, are so outrageously dressed up in the finest colours of cobalt, ultramarine, indigo and light blue as well as scarlet, wine, crimson and rose red.

This prints makes an excellent gift for lesbian couples, congratulating them with their friendship, engagement or marriage.

Thank you Jenna! Keep going places.

Love,
Paula

Jenna’s Dutch Guinea Pig Breeding Centre

At Etsy

Two Female Eclectus Parrots at Etsy

 

Gay Bird Drawing of Two Black Grouse

 

Korhoenpaula

Some years ago my husband and I enjoyed a holiday in Wales. After long walks, we would sit down in the evening on a stone jetty overlooking the Afon Mawddach, which looks like a loch, but opens up to the Irish sea. Two swans and one goose would come up to us for some bread. As we built up this routine, we started to question this odd trio. Luckily we found a British RSPB officer to enlighten us on the unusual swan couple with its tag-on goose. Why weren’t the swans breeding and why had they adopted this goose? Why did they stay together, goose and swans?

The RSPB officer told us that local conservationists had the same questions and that, while the goose and swans were ringed, blood was drawn and sent to a lab. Reported back was that both swans were male. This, as we had expected, was a homosexual swan couple that had kindly adopted a lonely goose. We laughed out loud, because somehow we had known this, but how could we know for sure? We continued feeding the swans and goose till the end of our holiday.

Did you know that close to 10% of all species (not only humans and birds) is homosexual? And that we often fail to see that with birds. This is because not all bird species show visible differences between male and female birds- many male and female birds have the same plumage and only behaviour (or a blood draw) will help to notice gender differences.

Recently I thought about my bird drawings and that my Etsy shop is full with heterosexual bird couples. I reflected; ‘I’m missing out on the 10% of birds that is homosexual, and that isn’t kind’. My thoughts went back to Wales, to the swans of Afon Mawddach and I decided to draw a gay and lesbian bird couple.

It was easy to find bird models for a gay couple. All I needed were two males that are known for their competitive display of their handsome plumage during the mating season so that even those with little bird knowledge would get a sense of two males. I chose to draw two male Black grouse, Lyrurus tetrix, not in the least because they are so pretty indigo blue.

Korhoen Detail

Every bird watcher knows that male Black grouse aren’t friendly to other males during the mating season. They put up a big show, a macho display and often fight with each-other. Showing them in a non-competitive way, confirms their bond. My Black grouse couple sits closely together on the same stone. They eye each-other tenderly.

Love,

Paula

Black Grouse Couple at Etsy.

Two Female Eclectus Roratus birds are here.

Shop at Etsy

Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle, in my three bird drawings

I’d like to show three paintings in which I have incorporated Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle. Ma is described as ‘an interval in time and/or space’, thus referring to empty spaces, vagueness or abstraction. Empty spaces, in which nothing seems to happen, are full of possibilities. How do my three birds deal with Ma in their portraits?

Ekster by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

For my portrait of Magpie, Korea’s national bird, I added orange colour to compensate for a magpie’s black and white plumage. To stay close to her Korean habitat, I decided to position Magpie on a colourful and fruit-bearing persimmon branch, heavily laden with pumpkin-shaped kaki. Magpie is content with her portrait, and so am I.

Crow Kraai by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Setting up a composition for a portrait of Carrion Crow was a little harder. Negotiations with this proud and cheeky bird were tough. I talked him into sitting on a mountain ash branch, but initially he didn’t agree with my decision of pushing him a little to the rear.

‘You are an indigo blue-ivory black bird’, I explained by pointing out that humans don’t like black things. I explained that I could trick humans in loving his plumage by adding the rich palette of colours of an autumn Mountain Ash.

‘This branch has fresh green, bright orange and deep red, and will charm viewers in loving your monotonous black feathers. And if I use a diagonal composition, I can guide the viewer along the branch, climbing up from deep red, through the bright orange to sap green. After such a colourful journey, people don’t mind a bit of solid black. But to do that, I told Carrion Crow, I have to push you a little to one side, but that is okay. Reluctantly, Carrion Crow agreed.

Sparrowhawk by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

My Sparrowhawk demanded to sit high and mighty on the top branch of a proud pine tree. The world of humans doesn’t interest him. He soars above it, looking down on our wars over oil, mass migration and our overheated, overpopulated world.

Sparrowhawk knows he has this intricately textured and awesome coat of feathers, which makes fashion designers drool. Not much is needed next to such an eye-catching bird; two almost evenly-coloured pine cones complete the portrait. Sparrowhawk sat down just long enough for me to make a portrait, and, without so much as a ‘thank-you’, flew off to his own world, soaring high above ours.

Back to Ma.. In all three bird portraits you’ll notice considerable emptiness. My birds seem to look into this emptiness. What do they see? A suitable partner? Prey? Are they guarding their hidden nests? Are they exploring new horizons?

Ma is for you to fill in with your imagination, with your story-telling, your ornithological knowledge or poetry. But Ma can also be left open. We don’t need to fill in empty spaces with projections, trauma, words or sounds. Ma offers a thinking pause or escape from our train of thoughts.

Magpie, Carrion Crow and Sparrowhawk understand Ma naturally. We are enchanted when we see a bird resting on a tree branch and we long to be like them: resting in Ma, accepting the here and now.

Paula

at  Etsy and at Paula Art Shop

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Atlantic puffins, Fratercula arctica

Puffin

Puffin birds, Fratercula arctica ©Paula Kuitenbrouwer

 

Atlantic Puffins, closely sitting together confirming their bond. These beautiful birds can be spotted during summer at coastal areas of Ireland. The genus name Fratercula is Latin for ‘little brother’, referring to the bird’s black and white plumage which resembles monastic robes. Puffins populations have drastically declined due to habitat destruction and exploitation (eggs, feathers and meat) during the 19th century and early 20th century.
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Size of print, that comes with a neat and sturdy white mount, is 20.4 cm/25.4 cm or 8 by 10 inches. The print with mount is packed in protective cellophane. It makes a beautiful gift: neatly packed and ready to frame or put it up on a small easel or shelf. Printed details are amazingly clear. Print comes with a Hahnemuhle Certificate of Authenticity. The purchase of this print does not transfer reproduction rights ©Paula Kuitenbrouwer.

At Etsy

At Amazon Handmade

Magpies, Magpie, Pica Pica, Pie Bavarde, Urraca, Elster, Gazza, Snag Breac, Pega, Ekster

Magpies Family

Magpie Family, gouache paint, copyright by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

We have a magpie family in our garden. Initially it worried me that their presence would result in having very few songbirds. Luckily, this isn’t the case. We have a variety of songbirds. As long as you feed your bird, they will visit your garden.

Magpies are very smart and charmingly funny. They walk in our garden like it is theirs. They might be right, because who owns a garden anyway? Humans because they have laws on ownership?  Magpies live by their own set of rules on dominance and territory.

But not all is happy in a magpie life. When magpies are facing food shortages, they start feeding only one young. You don’t need to have a degree in ethical thinking to understand how unbelievably stressful and sad that must be for a magpie family.

My magpies have one young, but that is because a storm has been battering their nest. There is plenty of natural food in our garden and there is a bird-feeder with scrumptious snacks. One parent sits relaxed, guarding their young, while the other parent tenderly feeds it. Their young looks strong and demanding, precisely how a magpie young should look and behave. It will nag its parents for a considerable part of the summer till the parents tell it politely to buzz off, no…of course not, they probably start to ignore it or give it a nasty peck. By that time, my family has had sleepless early mornings thanks to the magpie screeching. At such moments you know absolutely sure you will ban them from your garden. But later in the day, you seem them proudly walking and smartly communicating, maybe even playing, and… ah well…next year…likely….maybe.

Magpies, you got to love them…

Paula

Original is not for sale, prints are at Etsy or Amazon Handmade.

Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata)

Two couples of ducks on my painting easel. A Teal couple 0n the right side, and left, a Mandarin couple. Teals are the smallest ducks of Europe. For the male Mandarin I’ve used every colour section of my coloured pencil box, which doesn’t happen that often. It was therefore a joy to draw both drakes, constantly looking at many, many photos to see how colourful they are during the spring and summer. It is very easy to overdo the colours, but if I were to down-tune them, the drakes would be offended by me downplaying their remarkable plumage. Here are the prints: Eurasian Teals (right) & Mandarin (left)

Studio Picture with Ducks on my Easel (1)

In the back of the photo you see the hanger that served as inspiration for my ‘Harvest Hangings‘.

Herfsthanger

There are unfinished and finished canvasses behind the easels and a bucket with different kind of wooden sticks. I collect pieces of wood, shells, stones, feathers, forest-fruit, treasures of the natural world that one day might come in handy when I set up a new canvas. Somewhere in a drawer there is a dead stag-beetle, a dried shark egg, a dried nymph, a butterfly wing (almost dust now), and a herbarium with dried leaves and flowers.

Paula

at Etsy

Drawing a Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)

 

Crow

A story of a friend inspired me to draw a Carrion Crow. Initially I didn’t feel challenged drawing charcoal black birds, but after studying a few cheeky crows in our garden, I observed they weren’t solid black at all. I noticed a lot of indigo blue, even a tiny bit of warm auburn and the shiny feathers reflected some light blue.

After studying crows, on a beautiful autumn day, I noticed a blackbird sitting in our pink berried Mountain Ash (Sorbus huphensis). It made me stop and watch the scene. How pretty to see this blackbird, that, like the Carrion Crow, wasn’t solid black, in this flame red and orange tree that had a few last green leaves. The blackbird was eating berries, like crows do too when there aren’t other human caused snacks around.

Thus, I felt inspired to draw a black-indigo crow and a warm red and orange Mountain Ash tree. I opted for a diagonal composition, carefully balancing the black/indigo blue bird with the flamy autumn colours. The diagonal composition allowed me to put the red berries on the front and push the crow a bit to the back, preventing it to become too dominant.

Crow is overlooking a garden or park. He is resting but not sleeping. He ate some berries and the sky reflects indigo blue on his feathers, while the red and orange autumn colours shine a tiny bit on his side feathers. He is full colour, yet he remains a solid ebony bird.

A print with a Certificate of Authenticity is at Etsy. The original will become available at http://www.paulakuitenbrouwer.com (or inquiries at mindfuldrawing@gmail.com).

 

Personalized Birthday Print with Favourite Birds, Flowers or Butterflies

bert-85-white-background

I’ve designed a personalized birthday print for my father’s 85th birthday. It show his three favourite birds. There is a lapwing on the left, a collard dove in the middle, and an oyster-catcher at the right. Finding a harmonious combination of numbers and birds was a nice task to work out. The collared dove stands high and mighty on the 5, with his beak resembling the shape of the little flag of the 5. The curvy chest of the lapwing is in synchronicity with the curve of the 8. And the chest of the oyster-catcher is aligned with the curve of the 5. The oyster-catcher and the lapwing hold the 8 and 5 in place by putting their legs on both sides of the numbers.

Commission me click here (or contact me directly)

Paula

Paula Kuitenbrouwer at Etsy and at Paula’s Art Shop.