12 November 2012

A Portrait of the Artist: Redbird Cottage Art

Meeting passionate people is always a treat to me. Especially when they are artists like Dawn Derman. It only took one look at her hummingbirds to remember them forever. Dawn is a painter with a wonderful light and airy style that you might mistakenly classify as too loose but look closer and you will see the experienced hand of an artist who is in love with nature and has spent a great deal of time observing it. Browse through Dawn's Redbird Cottage Art shop on etsy and you will see what I mean.

Tell us about your background. How did you get acquainted to painting?
My journey as an artist began in working with textiles. I opened my first shop on etsy selling primitive hooked rugs. I took a class in watercolor two years ago and haven't looked back since! I opened my second shop on etsy in 2011 and I have been exhibiting and selling online and in galleries ever since.

You mostly paint birds. What is it in them that attracts you?
My home backs to a pond filled with wildlife and birds. I find so much beauty and inspiration by observing the natural world. I can see different expressions and personalities in the birds and I love to capture that experience. I paint with a loose, expressive style and lots of color. I experience great joy creating and try to bring that sense of life and movement to my art. I have always been attracted to the natural world and feel more at peace in that setting than anywhere else. 
Autumn landscape
Walk us through your creative process. How long does a painting take from start to finish?
I am always thinking about what to paint next – noting color combinations, forms,  the way the light looks – anything that catches my eye. I love to paint for a good chunk of time.  I am not good about starting a painting and then walking away from it.  I want to sit down, start the painting and see where it goes – all the way to the end.  There are times when I look at something the next day and see that it needs one more little thing, but for the most part I stay with a painting until it’s finished. Some days that takes longer than others and  I get completely focused for hours. Maybe that’s why I like to work in smaller sizes. They are easier to complete at one time.

What is your favorite media to work with?
I love working with watercolor... it's very exciting and unpredictable. The water and paints combine in different and unique ways in every painting. Sometimes I am very pleased and sometimes, not so much. 
Rooster art
How much time do you spend marketing your work?
I spend more time than I would like marketing my work. Listing, changing tags, etc. on etsy is quite time consuming. That does not come at all naturally to me so it has been quite a learning process.

Which are your bestsellers?
I think the hummingbirds are probably my best sellers.
Hummingbirds by Redbird Cottage Art
If you could do one art project, regardless of expenses, what would it be?
I don’t really have a project in mind, I guess I would like to just keep painting everyday and not have to think about selling my work. I’d love to get up every morning and try something new with my watercolors and not worry about coming up with new pieces to sell.

What is your current favorite item by another etsy seller?
I love rustic, handmade jewelry and this piece by Vanessa Faith is my current favorite:

Make sure you connect with Dawn on etsy and facebook.


  1. Great feature, I love those humming birds!

  2. Amazing work! I love birdie art and I love her style!

    Blogging Buddies Team

  3. WOW! Stunning work! I am in love with the rooster!

  4. Great artist! Love her colors. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Oh, I love these! The color and the suggestion of the birds' spirits. So pretty!

  6. Beautiful work! I've found several to add to my favorites. :)
    And lovely to know more about you also.

  7. What an amazing artist. Her watercolors of birds are beautiful, and full of color. Thanks for sharing.
    Everyday Inspired