For the last 100 days, artist Deanna Maree has painted different birds. Not just any birds, but an eclectic mix of feathered friends from around the world. She’s used gouache paint on wood slices to capture their likeness in all their colorful plumage and breathtaking beauty. This series is a labor of love for Maree, an avid bird-lover. “Birds have always held a special fascination for me,” she says. “There’s something so poetic and graceful about them.”
Deanna explains, “I’ve always been drawn to birds and everything they represent, and I adore painting birds because there is so much variety and variation in the bird world. I had a blast bringing each bird to life on the wood. I liked the tree/bird link…and I discovered gouache to be adaptable and forgiving throughout the process.” The artist is from Australia and spent the first 37 days of the project painting birds native to her region, such as the Gouldian finch, cockatiel, and mistletoe bird. After that, Maree broadened her artwork project to creatures from across the world – many of which are endangered or threatened.
Each bright portrait depicts a bird’s head in vivid detail. Maree uses her range of gouache paints to display the vibrant colors of feathers and the sparkle of their beaks. The background color of each slice varies from dark to bright, and contrasting colors highlight the birds’ facial expressions. Each bird is also framed by mesmerizing tree rings, drawing attention to each creature’s emotive face. “The aspect of the process that I like the most is capturing a bird’s distinct personality—or ‘birdonality’—but it’s also the most difficult,” she adds. “After the eye is completed, the bird seems to burst forth from the wood slice.”