The Childrens’ Aviary, or Birding at the Fair: Dispatch Number Four from the 2013 Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair

On the walls of the Main Hall at the Fair are hundreds of works of children’s art.

Many people pass them by, but it’s worth taking a closer look.

There are a surprising number of birds.

Here are some of the best.

A chicken that’s but a shell of its former self.


This is an inspired chicken. The judges gave it a well-deserved blue ribbon.

The head, close up.


Quahog head, jingle/toenail shell eyes and comb, crabclaw beak. Mighty fine. Notice that orange shells were selected to start the comb. If I read the entry tag correctly, congratulations go to Emily Boyd.

There is a blue bird.


Blue bird. Blue sky. This is a sweet portrait. By Diana Tackabury.

Wouldn’t you say that these eggs have to be the eggs of the blue bird?


This young person sees well…notice the highlights on the eggs. By Madelyn Wiener. 

In the “works of paper” department, we have the owl family.


The colors are great. These owls have big personalities. A Miro-worthy effort?

The eagle. By Klara Reimann.


It would be nice to know more about this eagle. Is the one leg an accident of a young artist, or did the eagle have one leg? The more you look at this bird the more interesting it gets. Notice the blues mixed into the whites of the snow.

Childhood art is full of instinctive and joyful use of color and pattern.


Many artists struggle for a lifetime to reclaim that viewpoint. How often have you heard that first you learn the rules and then you can learn how to break them?
This is Holden Brew’s red-tailed hawk.

You might ask, of the next picture, “What is that?”, or, “Is that a bird?”.


Enjoy the spot-on painted environment that surrounds this creature.
Don’t you feel that paint?
Don’t you now know better what it’s like to sit inside a bush?
This bird is a product of total concentration, total involvement.

It’s chicken time, folks.

Courtesy of Shiloh Hammarlund.


Total information is not necessary. There was no need to draw what this chicken is looking at. This is chicken gaze.

Is this last bird not a gem?

I’m not going to presume for a second that it needs comment at all.

From the brush of Lucy Anderson.


Except to say that I hope it ends up in a really nice frame, on someone’s wall.


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