Tag Archives: birds

Crowe Quill

A few weeks back I was contacted by literary agent, Sara Crowe to do some hand lettering of her name for the relaunch of her website.

With a name like Crowe, how could I resist?

After some initial emails I got an idea of what she was looking for.

My first step was to brainstorm by writing her name over and over again like a middle schooler does her crush.

I used mostly a brush with either ink or black watercolor on bristol board or watercolor paper.


After looking through all of the versions, I narrowed it down to the hand lettered styles that I liked and that would suit a website for a literary agent that specializes in children and young adult literature.

I also wanted to incorporate a crow somehow, of course.

I looked through my existing crow drawings and drew a couple of new ones hoping I could figure out a way to make them fit in. They all distracted from the hand lettering and Sara’s name which I wanted to keep the focus on.

CrowOne day I was having lunch in the back yard when I noticed a feather in the grass.

I finished my sandwich and went back in the art studio with a new idea.


Now it was time to put the pieces together in Photoshop and email them to Sara to get her feedback.

I sent her three designs to choose from and this is the one that she and I both liked best.



Sara sent it to her web designer, IceyDesigns who did a great job incorporating it into her beautiful new website. http://www.saracrowe.com/about

logo2This was a fun project to work on.

Let me know if you or any of your friends need custom lettering or any bird related artwork at moiraswiatkowski@gmail.com

or find me on social media

Facebook Moira Birch Swiatkowski

Twitter @atlanticmoira

Snapchat @atlanticmoira

Instagram @atlanticmo




Falling Forward

Last week I took the boogie boards, beach chairs and umbrella out of my car and put them in the garage for winter storage. I even vacuumed the half ton of sand that we progressively brought home from the beach this summer.

Summer is over, for real.

Thankfully, Fall is so dang beautiful here in New England that it distracts us from what we know to be true, Winter is coming.

I had some other good distractions this month.

I had a show of the Mini Sketches at the Dennis Public Library. The show had a good response and even some sales. The show is currently down now but you can check out the Mini Sketches for sale from the show here https://www.etsy.com/shop/atlanticmo?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Art Show Inspiration and Art Packing it up





The other fun thing I did in October was Inktober. I drew 31 ink drawing for all the days of the month. This year I did a sequential story based on a real story I heard about some birds that helped each other out. I made a video so you can see the story unfold. It’s on my YouTube channel here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTF-dscagu8 .







I’ve started a new series of morning sketches. I am randomly choosing different characters from the Nutcracker ballet. I am working on a story about a little ballerina and this will help me work out some ideas and keep my mind on ballet.

If you want to follow along check out my Instagram  here, https://instagram.com/atlanticmo/

Fritz Sugar Plum Fairy








leggingsAs per request I have added some dogs to my Society6 shop and I will be adding more as we get closer to the holidays. They have leggings now which I think I might just need a pair. Check those out here, https://society6.com/atlanticmo/prints?show=new

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on some stories and portfolio pieces. I will have another postcard going out after Thanksgiving. Email me if you want to be on the mailing list.


It should be a pretty busy month which hopefully will end with me eating some pumpkin pie.

Boys of Spring

Osprey in the OutfieldThis Winter was a bit much even for the seasoned New Englander. It wasn’t just the record snow. We’ve seen a lot of snow before. It was the snow never went away, not even a little bit. It was too damn cold. The temperature refused to rise above 32 degrees for any sustained amount of time. So the next storm just piled on top of last like a Dagwood sandwich of snow.

Winter 2015 sailed right past it’s March 21st expiration date while a blanket of white continued to cover my yard.

At this point of despair I started to look to signs of Spring beyond the view of my lawn.

The two most sure signs that Spring has returned to Cape Cod are nesting Osprey and youth baseball.

Baseball came first with an email with the subject header, “Pirates”. Right away you know that’s going to be a good email. It was from my son’s coach alerting us to his first (indoor since the ball field was also blanketed with snow) practice.

The next was a Facebook post a couple weeks later from Cape Cod Museum of Natural History letting us know that the Osprey were back.

These two events made me very happy. They gave me hope.

And then this week I had the real proof of Spring. I was at my son’s baseball game on a sunny enough day that I wasn’t wearing my knit hat or quilted jacket. I was already satisfied with this beautiful day. Over head I heard and then saw a beautiful pair of Osprey flying over the boy’s ball game.

Spring had sprung.


Throwing the Baby out with the Bath Water

Baby Moira

Baby Moira

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”, is one of many old adages that I would hear as a child that was confusing and sometimes frightening to me.

Here are some other favorites:

If you were over doing something you’d get, “Don’t gild the lily”. Did this have something to do with the Lollipop Guild?

If you had a question about anything in the future, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it”. I think this is the same bridge that we were told not to burn.

If you had to wait at all, “A watched pot will never boil”. This was scientifically proven to be false in seventh grade home economics class.

If you were about to ruin a surprise, “Loose lips, sink ships”. No pressure

The baby and the bath water one eventually made sense to me. In my personal life I stick to the wisdom of not tossing everything out when some things aren’t working, especially cute little babies.

As an artist…I don’t listen to this advice. Sometimes you need a fresh start. Sometimes it is a great choice and oh so satisfying.

Babies will be thrown, bridges and old artwork will be burned.

Last year I started working in a new style*. I was and have been loving the way I am working now. It feels really good and there is still plenty of room to explore what I can express with the new techniques that I am using now.

I’m buying new supplies. I have been drawing and painting stacks and stacks of pictures in the art studio. It’s exciting. I want to share what I have been working on.

Then I took a look at my website. It was full of my “old” work.

There were still plenty of images that I was proud of. And there were many that expressed ideas in a successful way but none of them were like the new style.

I knew I had to rebuild my online portfolio, start fresh.

I took all of the old images down and slowly, over the past year I have been putting new pictures up. Until this week none of the new pictures were for the children’s market. This is funny because the idea for working in the new style originally came from an idea I had for a picture book.

Well, Spring has sprung a perfect time for rebirth.

So here are some new babies.

Quack LessonsYuri and HandsomeMr. Woodduck

I plan on adding some more in the next few weeks so keep a look out.

Here’s to them growing up to be children’s books one day.

*Ugh, that word, “stlyle”. I know, I know.

Love Bird

For the past few years I have been making custom Valentines for my children.

This year they are both in Middle School. I don’t know if they are going to want to give them out to their classmates. But I wanted to keep up the tradition anyways. Here is what I came up with for 2015.

I have Valentines to download and print at home for sale at my Etsy shop if you want to avoid the snowbound shopping.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/222064105/duckling-valentine?ref=shop_home_active_1valentine ducklingHappy Valentine’s Day!

Sending warm thoughts,



Society Row

Thank you so much to everyone who has made purchases at my online shops. XOXO

Buying something from one of my shops gives you a chance to cyber shop, shop small and to get a unique item.

This week my Society6 shop is going to have a bunch of good deals each day for the next seven days. I’ll let you know about those through my Instagram account as they come.

Today is the first deal. Through Dec. 14, 2014 midnight PST, I have an artist promo for my shop.

Use the link below to get free shipping* plus $5 off everything in my shop.


*Offer excludes Framed Art Prints, Stretched Canvases and Rugs

Don’t forget about my other shops and thanks again,




Bird Count

bird contact pageThe bird thing started this past winter.

I had been doing most of my illustration digitally using a stylus and tablet for the past few years and before that my main medium was brush and acrylic paint on canvas. Some time in late February I decided to try something new and I started drawing with pen and ink on watercolor paper.

Around that same time I had an idea for a picture book that involved birds.

I thought, I should learn how to draw birds in this new medium.

Now, the best way to learn how to draw something is to draw it.

It felt good to be learning something new. I knew very little about working with pen and ink but that knowledge was a lot compared to what I knew about birds.

I started with the most common bird at my feeder, the chickadee, one of the handful of birds I can confidently identify.chickadee 2

Getting the hang of using the dip pen took a little while to get used to. I fooled around with the pen on dry paper and wet paper. I tried using a little ink, then a lot of ink. I used an ink wash with some soft brushes. I added a bit of watercolor.

Then I drew it again and again until I felt like the little guy looked like an actual bird.

Next I did the titmouse, then the cardinal, the woodpecker and one by one the usual gang at the bird feeder including squirrels, bunnies.squirrel bunny

All this trial and error drawing was leading to a fat stack of bumpy watercolor paper with birds painted on both sides of the paper and on any free white space.

I had been posting on Instagram my progress and friends were starting to ask me, “What’s the deal with the birds?”. I have answered them by muddling through my explanation about the children’s book which is only the beginning of the answer.

The truth is I really like drawing the birds. I want to draw more birds. I want to learn more about birds. I think this feeling must be akin to what bird watchers experience when they first start.

I never understood the fascination. I couldn’t understand how people could spend their free time and money just looking at birds.

I get it now. There is something magical and otherworldly going on with these creatures that is so different from our human existence that goes on unnoticed most of the time.

I notice now.

Birds of a Feather

Here is the piece that is in the “Work + Play” show at the Land Gallery in Portland, Oregon.  While the show is up you can buy a high quality print of mine and/or one of the 70 selected works. The show will be up until August 24, 2014. I hope that if you are local you will check it out in person. They also have a fun shop just below the gallery space.

Here is the link to purchase the print:


The show was a collaboration with ICON8, The Illustration Conference which I attended this year. I took a bunch of iPhone pictures of the event which I put up on my flickr page if you want to check them out.


I also made a video of the great experience of the Tape Mural Workshop with Brian Rea.


I’m still processing my time out in Portland with so many wonderful, creative people. Portland is a very welcoming and walkable city which was a nice bonus to my trip.

Probably the biggest take-away from the event is that I can’t wait to get back in my studio and get making.