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Birds, bugs... Resources?

Hi, I always see still life paintings with birds, and bugs and they all look like they sat down and modeled for the artist to paint! I wonder how do artists get their resources, Do they just look at pictures of birds or bugs and gather ideas? or is there some kind of store that sells real birds and bugs but not really alive?! 
any tips, recommendation, knowledge about this topic would be really helpful!  


  • Yes, all of the above and a lot more but it takes a much longer time to train a sparrow to sit still than it does a bull-frog.
  • edited May 2017
    Good question! sorry but don't know.
  • There are a number of examples here on the forum of birds and animals not so much bugs. but combining them with still lifes only a few and usually with a fake bird. Also you can combine elements from a photo with your still life which has been done here successfully. I wish I could remember the member who's done that. If you have enough creativity and curiosity to find this site and think it will interest you, you have enough of what it takes to resolve you "delima". Good Luck.
  • Get a good reference photo of the bird, bug, or animal... put together what you want in your still life, next do some pre sketches in about four rectangles (at least) to see how the composition will look for the completed painting... keep at this till you are satisfied with the lay out you want to paint.... getting lighting right for the things in your painting when you include the reference items, then do a small practice painting of your final choice before you tackle the real painting you want to is a lot of steps and work but the pay off can be a really beautiful painting.... full disclosure I have not done this myself but I have seen this done by other artists and it works for them. I don't know that I have the patience to paint that way.

    or do the other suggestions above. And there are many copyright free photos for references on websites like paint my photo, pixabay, and graphic stock
  • You could also call the bug whisperer.
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