I (Annie Moorhead, b. 1986) found birds in 2013. Living, curious, shy, intelligent, beautiful birds, everywhere. Nearing the end of a challenging office job at a teaching art studio, with a few months’ worth of art classes completed, I began to research, observe, and translate the wonder of birds into watercolor, beginning with realism and soon developing a unique fragmented style. Through the aesthetic mediums of minimalism, simplicity and detail, I communicate the beauty and complexity of the natural world. My work is not only an effort to capture the expressions, behaviors, and personalities of my subjects, but to inspire others to venture outside, to learn, conserve, and find joy.
Essentially I’m a bird nerd with a pencil and paintbrush.
It’s not complicated art, it doesn’t have hidden meaning. Bird and perch, simple. I began painting with minimalism and realism in mind; an effort to cut out the busyness and visual stimuli and concentrate just on the subject, to illuminate and celebrate the small, often overlooked individuals of branch, wave, and breeze.
Because these surprisingly accessible wild creatures are generally overlooked. Often feared (think crows). Despised (think canada geese). Misunderstood (how about jays?). But as you get to know them, the more time you spend with them, the more they surprise you, change you. Like, I never realized how charming and intelligent american crows could be until I grew to be friends with several pairs on the University of Washington campus that would follow me for a peanut; one in particular would sit with me for more than just a few moments. Maybe that’s why I love birds so much: there is always something new to wonder at, a species you’ve never seen before or a new behavior in a species you’ve long observed. It's the thrill of the hunt, of never knowing what you might find when you go outside, even if you only end up with your 247th sighting of the always-adorable bewick's wren.
And birds matter. They matter ecologically, globally, recreationally, intellectually, aesthetically. Each species has a unique impact on its environment, everywhere in the world. From pollinating hummingbirds to disease-preventing vultures, from message-carrying pigeons to insect-consuming martins. Birds are important.
My art is an effort to communicate the beauty and significance of birds. To entice people to want to learn more about them. To grasp the diversity and variety and uniqueness of and within each species. To see their personalities shine through the paint and ink, to feel the joy that I felt when I happened upon that particular bird and the moments I shared with it.
In my small way, I want to help you see the world around you. The world that needs your thoughtful care and help to conserve and sustain it. I want to help you see the beauty, the meaning, and the joy that is just a moment away. Whether you're a master or a fledgling birder or just someone who thinks birds are cool or pretty or weird, I hope that my work inspires you to go outside and experience the wonder that awaits you.
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