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  • Writer's pictureLynne Kornecki

Avid Birdwatching Inspires the Artistry of Oil Painter, Maria Ananieva, from Her Backyard & Beyond

Maria Ananieva poses in her second-floor studio at Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water Street in Batavia, IL among canvases illustrating her latest focus, birds. Scroll down for more art...

Maria Ananieva's lifelong passion for birds has taken flight with a plethora of newly produced canvases. With a recent focus mostly on painting birds, she brings it to a whole new level by "birding" to observe their movements and behavior. She reads books about bird anatomy and even watches a "bird cam" to develop a broader understanding.

"I've always liked birds, even as a kid," Maria states. "I took up birdwatching about two years ago with the DuPage Birding Club which makes field trips to different areas regularly -- maybe five to ten a month! They're such a knowledgeable group and by comparison, I'm just a beginner, but it's been a big help to my artwork."

Maria shares that her favorite bird is a type of stork native to her homeland of Bulgaria. Here in the U.S., she likes hummingbirds, cardinals, Eastern bluebirds, birds of prey, and various songbirds. Simply observing birds in her backyard also provides continual inspiration for her.

"Seeing birds live is a big help and I especially love their wings," she says, "There is so much detail in their different types of feathers. Birds can have upwards of 3,000 of them! I love focusing on their drama. There's such a difference between body feathers and those on their wings."

Maria's work is open to the public by appointment at her second floor Water Street Studio location or during their second Friday's event each month. She's also appearing in a busy season of upcoming shows --see schedule below.

Her advice to other artists about drawing birds, "Study their anatomy and behavior before you dive in. It's especially helpful to know their different feathers and their function so you can capture the drama -- the light and the shadow."

She sums up: "As a birdwatcher, my purpose with creating art is not to only portray the beauty and simplicity of this act, but also to advocate for the birds and spread awareness of how we can help them."




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