Decorating with Bird Prints: Bringing Nature's Beauty Indoors
Incorporating nature-inspired elements into home decor has seen an uptick lately, with bird-themed art occupying a prominent position. With their delicate feathers, vibrant plumage, and graceful movements frozen in time, birds effortlessly bring the outdoors inside.
More than just a passing fad, bird prints have stood the test of time, maintaining their appeal as other trends come and go. From classic watercolors to modern digital illustrations, the versatility of bird art prints knows few bounds.
Whether you prefer the realism of John James Audubon's meticulously detailed renderings or abstract interpretations that capture a bit of whimsy, there's a bird print for you. The Audubon flamingo below is a clear example. It works just as well in a modern pared-back kitchen as it does in a classical living room, infusing each with a pop of color and a dose of charm.
Choosing Bird Prints
The process of choosing the right bird print can launch you down an enchanting path into a world where art and nature intersect. Along the way you'll encounter a vast array of option. But it's not just about picking a beautiful image; it's also about finding a piece that resonates with your style and complements your home's overall aesthetic. Here are some considerations to get you started.
Birders take note - there's a bird print for each of your favorite species, even the rarest, so no worries about getting started. No worries, either, if you're a newly minted bird enthusiast. With a little time and effort, you'll soon find a favorite whether it's based on grace and beauty, quirky habits, vibrant colors, or a personal connection.
The painting of seagulls at the beach by Louis Agassiz Fuertes can't help but bring back memories of your favorite beach vacation each time it catches your eye.
But beware, your choice might surprise you. For example, who would set out to choose a vulture (aka, a California Condor)? But Audubon's vulture, hulking over the antique bedframe, provides just the right amount of unpredictability in the otherwise classically arranged bedroom below. Yes, it's a realistic rendering of nature, but it's also quirky and entirely unique in this setting.
A flock of black and white crows (aka, a murder of crows) might not seem an obvious choice, either. But the asymmetrical arrangement of the composition below creates a compelling scene (a gossipy group and a couple of outsiders?). Not a bad choice for a modernistic room oozing natural light with a view of the trees beyond.
Perhaps you'd rather let your preferences in art style steer your decision. Journey off in that direction and you'll likely encounter everything from a realistic rendering of a swan to an abstract thunderbird based on an ancient legend. While many of the categories overlap - both realistic and vintage artworks can appear modern, for example - you'll know what you want when you see it.
The Olof Rudbeck swan hung above a modern bed looks clean and contemporary although it was painted in the 1700s.
Realistic Bird Art
If realism is your thing, no worries. Over the centuries, many artists and naturalists have set out to capture birds' intricate details and colors, representing them as accurately as possible.
The contribution of John James Audubon is particularly significant. His major work, "The Birds of America," is an ambitious collection of 435 life-sized prints, regarded as one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. His detailed and dramatic illustrations combined scientific accuracy with artistic vibrancy, setting a high watermark for ornithological art.
While John James Audubon may be the most famous, other equally talented artists have contributed to the field. Rex Brasher, for example, is an acclaimed American bird artist with an extensive body of work. Brasher's paintings are highly regarded for their realism and portrayal of birds in their natural habitats.
Even more laudable, he embarked on an ambitious endeavor to paint all the birds of North America from life. Each painting is a vivid representation of the species, offering insights into their behavior, habitat, and unique characteristics. Brasher's artwork serves as a testament to the beauty and significance of birds, while also contributing to scientific knowledge and conservation efforts.
For more information and inspiration, visit the Rex Brasher site.
So if authenticity is what you're after, consider realistic prints. They can create a serene and natural ambiance in any space, complementing design themes such as rustic, farmhouse, traditional, or even contemporary styles by adding a touch of realism and a connection to the natural world.
Vintage Bird Art
There isn't always a distinct difference between vintage and realistic since realistic prints are often vintage as well. The main difference is the period in which they were created. Realistic bird prints span time periods and focus on capturing the intricate details of birds with accuracy and precision. On the other hand, vintage bird prints are associated with a specific era in the past. They are often considered collector's items and reflect the artistic style, techniques, and aesthetics prevalent during that particular time.
The Spotbilled Pelican shown above was captured in a painting by Indian artist Ram Das in the late 1700s. Vintage bird prints may exhibit unique characteristics such as aged paper, vintage color palettes, or a specific artistic style that was popular during that era.
Remastered prints are another option. Taken from vintage artwork, they offer a unique opportunity to appreciate classic art in a refreshed and modern way.
These prints are created by digitally enhancing and restoring original vintage artwork, breathing new life into pieces that may have deteriorated with time. Remastering involves careful attention to detail, ensuring that the essence and integrity of the original artwork are preserved while enhancing its overall quality.
Abstract Bird Art:
Abstract art takes a more interpretive approach, focusing on shapes, colors, and emotions rather than precise representation. This style allows for creative freedom and often showcases bold brushstrokes, vibrant colors, and imaginative compositions. Paul Klee's "Persian Nightingales" is a prime example.
Painted in 1917, this piece is a visual exploration of the harmony between nature and art. Rather than adhering to realistic details, Klee utilizes an array of geometric shapes, lines, and colors to create an utterly intriguing representation of nightingales. Klee's "Persian Nightingales" is a testament to the whimsy and freedom of abstract art, capturing the essence of its subject through feeling and interpretation rather than precise, anatomical accuracy.
Abstract bird art can add an element of energy and dynamism to a space, making it an excellent choice for modern, eclectic, or contemporary interior design themes. It brings a sense of spontaneity and artistic expression, adding visual interest and conversation starters to the room.
Above, the artwork titled "Scramble" by Benjamin Chee Chee portrays geese in black and yellow, capturing a range of movements in just a few strokes. The energy it adds is palpable.
Asian Bird Art
No discussion of ornithological art is complete without venturing into the captivating world of Asian birds. The intricate brushwork and delicate details found in Asian bird art offer a unique cultural perspective.
Birds hold a special place in Asian culture. Artists have been creating exquisite bird paintings for centuries, incorporating various artistic styles and techniques. From delicate brushwork in traditional Chinese bird-and-flower paintings to vibrant colors seen in Japanese bird prints, the artwork captures the elegance and symbolism associated with birds.
Asian bird art might just be the perfect next step in your artistic journey if you're looking to add a touch of serenity and cultural flair to your collection.
Minimalist Bird Art
Minimalist bird art simplifies forms, focusing on clean lines, minimal colors, and negative space, and can be centuries old or modern. Minimalist bird prints create a sleek and contemporary aesthetic that works well with modern, Scandinavian, or minimalist interior design themes, adding a subtle yet impactful element to the space.
Rudbeck's remastered Snowy Owl, below, provides a minimalist look even though the bird is detailed, largely due to the clean background and limited color palette.
Mixed Media Bird Art
Mixed media art combines various materials and techniques, such as painting, collage, and layering, to create unique and multidimensional artworks. This style offers a diverse range of textures, patterns, and visual elements, making it versatile and adaptable to different interior design themes. Mixed media bird art can add an eclectic and artistic flair to spaces, whether they have bohemian, industrial, or contemporary design aesthetics.
Above, Fred Tomaselli's work is fashioned from acrylic, gouache, collage, and epoxy resin on wood. The result is a unique piece fit for just about any wall.
Whether your artwork will continue to captivate you over time is difficult to evaluate. You can, however, make sure it lasts long enough to fully evaluate its lasting appeal down the road. When choosing bird art prints, the quality and craftsmanship of the piece all play a significant role in determining longevity and aesthetic appeal.
The quality of the materials used in the artwork is crucial. In the case of prints, look for archival-quality paper that is resistant to yellowing and fading. This will ensure that the artwork remains vibrant and visually stunning for years to come.
A close-up of our Somerset® Velvet paper
The method used to create bird prints greatly affects its appearance and value. Techniques like giclée printing can reproduce the nuances of the original artwork with remarkable accuracy, capturing every detail and color shade.
Fine art printing techniques encompass several methods that artists use to create multiple copies of a single image. Giclée prints stand unrivaled in the realm of fine art printing, embodying precision, exceptional color accuracy, and an aesthetic quality that mirrors the original artwork. Giclée prints are made with high-quality archival inks on fine art papers using a high-resolution large-format inkjet printer, providing incredibly detailed prints for both photographs and fine art.
The original artist's skill and dedication are determining factors in the overall appeal of the artwork, too, of course. Pay attention to the detail, texture, and composition of the print. A well-crafted piece will exhibit a fine balance between all its elements, creating a pleasing visual harmony.
Complement Existing Decor
Bird prints often have a chameleon-like nature, allowing them to blend in wherever you hang them. Interior designers have used Rudbeck bird prints in a host of different settings. Below, Mark D. Sikes hung a gallery wall of Rudbeck prints in a classic living room decorated in creamy tones.
Via Southern Living, Photo: Mary Katherine Morris
A gallery of Rudbeck bird prints looks much different when showcased in a Scandinavian-style room with crisp white walls and loads of natural light.
And a floor-to-ceiling entrance wall packed with Rudbeck's creates an entirely different vibe in a Maine house decorated by Tom Sheerer.
In Scheerer's version, the Rudbeck birds project a modern almost daring look through sheer numbers, interesting placement, and exquisite framing.
The overall color palette and style of the space can also provide direction, whether you go with the same scheme or with a complementary color. Choosing prints that align with the existing decor creates a cohesive look. Below, Mark D. Sikes added a pair of blue aquatics birds that echo the color of the seating,
Choosing prints that feature birds in hues that contrast with the dominant color in the room is also an interesting choice. For example, if you have a living room with neutral tones, such as beige or gray, you can introduce a focal color, such as teal or mustard yellow. The pops of color from the bird prints will draw attention and create visual interest in the space.
A black and white color scheme is another option to consider. Not only can it add visual interest, but also contrast, and a touch of nature to monochromatic spaces. While the Rudbeck Diver below echoes the dark tones of the room, the bright white background provides contrast and interest.
Look for artwork that showcases the beauty and grace of birds, capturing their unique characteristics in a monochromatic style.
Choosing the perfect bird print for your space is a unique journey that blends individual style, quality craftsmanship, and a love for nature's beauty. Whether you are drawn to mixed media art, giclée prints, or black and white aesthetics, the key is to choose a piece that resonates with you personally and complements your existing decor. The good news is, there are plenty of possibilities. Our extensive collection of bird prints is waiting for you to explore. Browse our collection
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