Artist Heike Kuzminski painted watercolor birds for 100 days as part of a 100 Day Project to express the joy birds bring her in life.
Some think doing the same thing 100 days in a row won’t make you happy, but the proof is in the artwork.
And looking at Heike’s artwork brings the viewer great joy.
Love of Nature and Painting
Heike is a watercolor artist and illustrator from the Vancouver area of British Columbia with a deep passion for being outside and exploring nature.
As a stay-at-home mom, she was finding it increasingly difficult to find time for making art because of her busy to-do list.
She missed painting.
And for Heike, painting is the one thing she does for herself that makes her happy.
100 Day Project
“I’m most content when I’m able to make time for art, so I was inspired to take part in the 100 Project and commit to creating a painting of a bird for 100 days,” she says.
Heike began posting watercolor bird paintings on her Instagram account @heikekuzminski on April 2, and her first painting of a Fairy Wren caught our attention.
Then a Pink Robin (Day 2), Eastern Yellow Robin (Day 10), White-breasted Robin (Day 11), Silvereye (Day 12), and we were hooked.
Visiting Heike’s Instagram page was at the top of our “View List” every day.
A quick visit to her account, and you’ll see most of her art includes birds.
Heike says she started painting when her youngest was in kindergarten, and she had more free time.
“I was drawing most of my inspiration from nature,” she says.
When a knee injury forced Heike to stop running, she began walking and hiking for exercise.
Seeing Nature and Birds
Slowing down, she started noticing the signage on the trails and took the time to read about the plants and animals in the area.
“I was drawn to the different types of birds shown in the pictures and started painting them,” she adds.
She says many of her watercolor paintings are inspired by her fleeting interactions with tiny birds native to British Columbia and Western North America.
“I try to express the joy these birds bring me by exaggerating and accentuating features that stand out to me.”
During the 100 Days Project, she was running out of colorful local birds and asking followers to make suggestions.
“It was a nice way to discover birds I would never found on my own and building a rapport with my followers,” she says.
Heike is principally a watercolor artist because she loves the softness, the unpredictability, and the ‘happy accidents’ she gets from a natural medium.
And it’s the perfect medium for painting birds.
“It’s delightful watching the colors blend together; unpredictable and mesmerizing,” she adds.
She also likes working in pen and ink and plans to explore mixing media and incorporating colored pencil and ink into some of her watercolor work.
Birds Make Her Happy
Heike loves how cute and sweet birds are, and says because birds tend to be small and delicate, with all those fragile feathers and little stick legs, they look beautiful in watercolor.
“I just want to paint things that make me happy, and there’s just something about a little round bird skipping across the ground. Birds make me happy.”
Heike says she was never into birds before she started painting.
“I could only name a handful of local birds by sight.”
But once she started painting them, she began to notice them more.
“If there were one that I had never seen before, I would go home, Google it, and then paint it,” she says.
READ: Art Light as a Feather
Turning a Memory into Art
Now that Heike is into birds, when she sees a beautiful bird, she wants to get home and turn her memory into art.
“There’s been a few times that I saw a bird and wanted to paint it right away.”
One memory Heike says that stands out was when she was walking down to the school to pick up her son, and there was a tiny bird with a yellow stripe on its head in one of the bushes.
The bird was tiny and ridiculously cute, and she got very close to it.
“It was just the sweetest thing. I’d never seen it before, so I went home and looked it up right away. It was a Yellow Goldcrest, and it was the next painting I did,” she adds.
Favorite Place to See Birds
Heike says she doesn’t go out birdwatching, but her favorite place to see birds is in her neighborhood, and she enjoys seeing what different types of birds visit the area.
“We live on a green belt, and I can hear the birds chirping away all the time. I can’t identify them by sound, but I find listening to them very relaxing.”
She thinks one of the most significant issues with birds today is the number of endangered birds and many are close to extinction in the wild due to the birds’ loss of habitat.
After painting 100 birds in 100 days, in addition to the other incredible bird watercolors she’s painted before the project, Heike says she has a favorite bird, and it’s evident in her artwork.
“My favorite bird is the wren. They’re so cute and round, and there’s that little tail that sticks straight up. We have the Pacific Wren where we live, and I get very excited when I see one,” she says.
She also fell in love with the fairywrens of Australia, while doing the 100 Day Project.
“There are so many varieties and colors. I want to go to Australia one day to see all the amazing birds and wildlife.”
Favorite Watercolor Bird
Heike’s favorite watercolor bird just happens to be the first Instagram post that was a hit with her followers.
“I was out for a hike with my family, and we stopped on a beach to have a snack. A little Dark-Eyed Junco was hovering near us, patiently waiting to scoop up our crumbs.”
She managed to get a really great photo of the little bird and painted it the next day and posted it on Instagram.
“It was my first post receiving lots of engagement from people. Now I’m planning on framing it and putting it up in my studio,” she adds.
Life After 100 Day Project
Now that her 100 Days Project is finished, Heike says she can get back to other projects put on hold while she was painting birds.
Projects like starting a website, painting her studio, and building up other skills
Heike plans to go back to painting more variety, including flowers and other animals.
“I may even try some landscapes. I always seem to come back to birds, though. I’m sure there will be many more to come.”
We enjoy Heike’s incredible watercolor birds and look forward to what she paints next, and so will you.
Heike’s watercolor birds are amazing to look at on online, but if you’re visiting British Columbia, you can see her artwork up-close and personal as part of the ‘Positively Petite’ show at Place des Arts, in Coquitlam, British Columbia.
All the paintings in this show are no larger than 3”x3” – the same size of and many of Heike’s 100 watercolor birds.
Follow Heike on Instagram @heikekuzminski or follow her on Facebook.