Rachel Rothberg is a 16-year-old birder from Palo Alto, California. In addition to painting and drawing them, her favorite experiences involving birds include seeing a juvenile Blue-footed Booby locally (Stinson Beach) and going to the ABA’s Camp Colorado, where she got to see many amazing birds including the American Three-Toed Woodpecker that she painted afterwards. See more of her work at rachelrothbergart.weebly.com.
My love for nature and all creatures has been present for as long as I can remember. One thing that stands out is my fascination with the beauty of birds. When I was seven I found an illustrated field guide in my house and was inspired to start paying more attention to what flew into my yard. Since that moment, my birding has been taken to a new level and has led to the majority of my work being focused on birds.
I have a sketchbook with me wherever I go because I never know when inspiration will strike. Drawing and painting is my escape; I can isolate myself outside for hours and draw whatever perches in front of me.
I am still experimenting with different mediums; however, I feel I work best in acrylic as I have almost two years of experience with it. With acrylic, I can capture the character of the bird better. With drawing, I prefer to work in pen.
I am inspired not only by the birds I see around me but by photographs and other artists’ renditions of them. I use as many references as I can while painting one piece—if my own photographs are not adequate, I sometimes get help from the work of others.
I paint to evoke the same fascination in my viewers that I have while observing birds. My favorite part of birding is when I get the opportunity to see birds close-up which allows me to observe the detail in their feathers. I am captivated by preening birds as they show off their plumage. I want to share with people the excitement I feel while seeing a bird closely and show them the intricacy of the feathers, how the light reflects off the bird, or how its feet grip the branch.
Furthermore, I enjoy challenging myself to paint detailed birds, as I can manipulate the textures to make the bird come to life. As I reserve time for painting almost every day, I hope to get better at this. I am also trying to master different painting techniques such as creating the different effects for tree bark or water. By doing this, I look forward to improving over the next few years as I paint more birds.