I am sure I am not the only one to marvel over how a cardinal’s magnificent red pops against the winter snow. Or to be amused when a bright yellow checker taxi cab-looking bird (a finch!) lands at my kitchen window bird feeder. What is it about birds that capture our fancy? Do we dream of taking flight? Who wouldn’t love, once in a while, to be able to shake off our earth-boundedness and soar?

The use of birds can be seen in the earliest known art (the Lascaux Caves), as well as in contemporary street art and everywhere in between. Birds have historically represented various ideas in art, including freedom, nobility, fertility, and bravery. Utilize the list of artists below when embarking on a bird-inspired lesson. These inspirational artists will leave you thinking about the possibilities for your future lessons.

1. Jamie Wyeth
If you admire seagulls, Jamie Wyeth’s works are for you. Living on an island in Maine gives Wyeth plenty of opportunity to observe the birds. From the 1960s to the present, he has been painting birds of all kinds, including chickens, gulls, ravens, and vultures. He has more than 175 paintings and drawings of these creatures.

2. Barbara Kobylinska
Kobylinska is a contemporary artist who creates large, colorful ceramic and mixed-media sculptures. One of her popular topics is birds.

3. Pete Cromer
Pete Cromer is a contemporary Australian inspired who creates collages of birds and other wildlife. Read this interview with Peter Cromer.

4. Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson
Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson is another artist working in collage. See her work on the topic of Birds HERE and a lesson plan based on her HERE.

5. Hoàng Tiến Quyết
Hoàng Tiến Quyết is an artist who works in origami, and his subjects are often birds and animals. Find a gallery of his work HERE.

6. John James Audubon
John James Audubon’s life’s work involved painting to document all the birds of America. Find more information on Audobon and see his work HERE. Plus, find a great book of his work HERE.

7. Dusciana Bravura
Dusciana Bravura is an Italian contemporary artist who creates mosaic sculptures. Read about her and see more of her work her work HERE.

8. Nigel Cheney
Nigel Cheney is a contemporary textile artist. See more of his work and maybe follow Cheney as well HERE.

9. Luis Martins, aka L7M
L7m is a street artist known for his menagerie of colorful bird murals. Read more about him and see his work HERE.

10. Charlie Harper
Charlie Harper is a graphic artist. He says about his work, “I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior, and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of the painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe.”