Sunday 12 April 2020

Art Idea! - Easter! Eggs! Birds!

Here's something to play with over this strange Easter period. Eggs, paint, birds...

Aren't eggs amazing. Look at these:

Auk family - razorbill, black guillemot, little auk, puffin.
Why are the eggs of cliff-colony-nesting razorbills and black guillemots so patterned while those of solitary burrow/hole-nesting puffins and little auks bright white?

ten different tern species

assorted finches, buntings and starlings.
The starling eggs are the three unpatterned light ones on the bottom row.
Starlings nest in dark holes in buildings and the like.

A pair of starlings nest in the roof cavity at the bottom of our bedroom dormer window, each year they fledge two lots of chicks. What great noises they make! In the past week they've stopped bringing their dried grasses in behind their gutter so they must have finished building their nest.

the top five eggs here are all laid by guillemots but look at the amazing pattern variation. Guillemots nest in cliff colonies of thousands of birds, all tightly packed together.
It could be very hard to spot one's own egg if all were identical.

Now Some Art:

I thought it'd be nice to try painting egg-like patterns.
Here are a few ways. What other ways can you find?

I used:
- thickish watercolour paper / card so it doesn't buckle too much
- watercolour paints
- pencil
- scissors
- glue


Egg 1.1
- add water onto a patch of paper using clean brush. I painted my water in a rough egg shape

Egg 1.2
- use a brush to dab on dots of paints. Watch it spider across the wet paper!

- The more watered down the paint the more it will spread

Egg 1.3
- while all still wet add some darker paint at the top

Egg 1.4
- Look at it now, paint has spread so much that the individual dots have almost disappeared. The paint only spread to where I wet the paper.

- Look at the new dots on the right, painted onto dry paper - they haven't spread at all.

Egg 1.5
- drop water onto the still wet spots on the right, let it all spread for a few seconds then use clean rag or paper napkin (I save mine up in cafes) to dab all the moisture off - only the ghosts of the paint spots remain. Nice egg pattern.

Egg 2
- watery paint, brushed/dripped onto the paper, lean down and blow on it hard.

- Blowing through a straw makes it easier.

- Drawing ink works really well instead of paint.

Egg 3.1
- paint another patch of clean water onto the paper.

- Leave it a bit longer than last time so the paper dries a bit more.

Egg 3.2
- dab on some delicate little specks. That's it!

- below that, some delicate specks dabbed onto dry paper.

Egg 4.1
- use finger to flick paint from a paintbrush or a toothbrush. An old toothbrush, not you partner's / mum's / brother's / toddler's.

Egg 4.2
- flick another colour or two on top

- drip some water on top.

Egg 4.3
- flick another colour on top of that! See you it acts on the wetted sections compared to the dry sections

Egg 5.1
- wet the paper

- paint a spiral

Egg 5.1
- all still wet, paint a second spiral within the first

Egg 6.1
- paint an egg shape

Egg 6.2
- still a bit wet - paint blobs of a new colour onto the egg.

- fill in a larger area with paint at the bottom/sides/top

Egg 6.3
- try a third colour, maybe something **BRIGHT**

Egg 6.4
- why not a fourth? Dark red on yellow on blue on lighter red

Look at all these potential eggs!

- draw egg shapes onto your painted patterns once the paint has dried.

- cut them out

- lay them out. Do you prefer a natural look:

- or ordered, like in the books:

Eggs Make Birds

We hopefully all know that. But egg shapes can be helpful in making birds too:

Look at this beautiful screenprint from the Art in Healthcare Collection, by artist Kittie Jones:

Kittie Jones, mallards, 37.5x38.5cm

The outline of the male mallard duck is pretty much an egg shape. His head and neck, with a bit of imagination or screwed up eyelids, are made of a second smaller egg.

The body of the female away near that lovely arching bridge is an egg shape too.

So here are four of the eggs I cut out earlier:

Now I've drawn on a few of the features:

Now I've done a little bit of cutting and glued the shapes down:

And painted on top:

You could leave it like this on nice white card.

Or paint in a background. Abstract? A landscape?

Or collage a habitat around them.

Eggs Make More Birds:

Another piece I love from the Art in Healthcare Collection:

Helga Chart, Four Racers, 90.5x55cm

Those pigeons have fairly egg-shaped bodies.

I glued down three of my own to turn into this curlew, pigeon and ringed plover, drawn in pencil:

Then painted up with watercolours:

Again, do what you wish with the background.

Have a good explore of the Art in Healthcare Collection because it has a really good selection of Scottish and Scottish-related artworks. Loads to inspire.

If you see artworks in hospitals and other healthcare settings they may be from the Art in Healthcare. Collection.

Use this form to do a more detailed search -

For example, search for "egg" - and find these two lovely and very different pieces:

Freda Blackwood, Plums and Quail's Eggs, 45x45cm

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Orange and Lemon Playing Games I, 53.2x66cm

Enjoy :)

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