Artist Uses Oil Paint to Create Expressive Portraits of Birds

Oil painting of a puffin by Rachel Altschuler

For as long as she can remember, Rachel Altschuler has been fascinated by the unique energy and spirit of birds. And so, she has invested her artistic talents into creating striking avian portraits rendered in oil paint. Her passion for birds shines through in these expressive paintings, which focus on the unique characteristics of each species.

All of Altschuler's birds are painted against neutral backgrounds, which allows their features to pop. Using loose brushstrokes, Altschuler renders their feathery plumes in a way that pays homage to their bright, vibrant personalities. Whether painting a pensive-looking puffin or a regal flamingo, each bird's unique character is highlighted.

By using oil paint, a medium used for portraiture by the Old Masters, Altschuler elevates these birds to a new level. In creating portraits akin to the ones typically reserved for humans, she's reminding us that wildlife and humans are on an equal playing field. She acknowledges that birds hold special meaning for many people, and she hopes that, through her art, she can foster an even deeper connection with them.

Altschuler's art will be available to an even wider audience starting this summer when she opens her own gallery space. Rachel Altschuler Gallery is opening on June 1, 2024. Located in New Harbor, Maine, her paintings will be right at home in the small, New England coastal village.

“Maine is my happy place. I find so much solace in the beauty of my natural surroundings there, and that has been so impactful in my life. It’s been a dream of mine to open a gallery there, and this fall, I was lucky enough to find the perfect spot,” she tells My Modern Met. “New Harbor is an idyllic, coastal village located in the midcoast region of Maine. The natural beauty of the area, with its fishing wharves, rocky coastline, and incredible sunsets, is no doubt why it was voted the nicest place in Maine in Reader’s Digest.”

“More importantly, the local art scene is absolutely packed with some of New England’s finest artists. I feel so lucky to be a part of this community and can’t wait to open my doors for the first time this summer.”

Artist Rachel Altschuler is known for her expressive oil paintings of birds.

Oil painting of a flamingo by Rachel Altschuler

Oil painting of a hummingbird by Rachel Altschuler

Bird art by Rachel Altschuler

These portraits pay homage to the avian world by focusing on each bird's unique characteristics.

Oil painting of a kingfisher by Rachel Altschuler

Oil Portrait of an owl by Rachel Altschuler

Oil Portrait of a Bird by Rachel Altschuler

This summer, Altschuler will be opening her own gallery in Maine.

Oil painting of a spoonbill by Rachel Altschuler

Oil painting of a hummingbird by Rachel Altschuler

Oil Portrait of a Bird by Rachel Altschuler

Visitors to the coastal village of New Harbor will have to opportunity to see even more of her incredible bird art.

Oil Portrait of a Bird by Rachel Altschuler

Oil Portrait of a Bird by Rachel Altschuler

Rachel Altschuler: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Rachel Altschuler.

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Surreal Paintings of Birds Evoke the Mysteries Always Present in the Natural World


Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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