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Once Upon A Branch

Avian art by Helen Barnard


‘Once upon a branch’ is a collection of watercolour avian art inspired by the moments and experiences we share in everyday life with birds. It’s a celebration of these fascinating fragile creatures and the diversity of the people who are captivated by our feathered friends.

Helen’s delicate works are presented with a story-telling approach, linking people’s personal experiences with the species painted. She understands that we often build connections to birds, that they give us a sense of place, and have had a prominent place in human culture and our understanding of the world around us.

Watercolour is the perfect medium to capture the delicate and intricate details in birds, reminding us of their natural beauty, and the importance of conserving the beautiful and fragile Tasmanian ecosystems they inhabit.


Helen Barnard

Helen moved to Tasmania in 2011 and was enchanted and inspired by the beautiful and unique flora and fauna on this fascinating wild island. It evoked a curiosity and want to explore and understand this new landscape and it’s inhabitants – there is always something different and surprising. She picked up a paintbrush after years of neglecting to remember the enjoyment in the hours spent as a child drawing the natural world.

I am particularly interested in studying and painting birds, although they are all around us, and live worldwide, they are incredibly diverse; some delicate and tiny, some huge and graceful, or noisy and hilarious – but always, the closer you look the more you see. I get drawn in to this kind of detailed work and love painting them. Birds are a good connection between the human world and the wild world, they are not afraid to come into our gardens and our space, they live alongside us or they go back into the bush, or up into the sky. – Helen Barnard.

Helen’s work invites people to take a moment, see something that they hadn’t noticed before. It gives the viewer an admiration for the birds depicted, and it reminds them of a place or an experience and of their connection with nature, and to think about the world we exist in.

Helen has been painting in watercolour (specifically wildlife) since 2011. Her first exhibition Bird Nerd: Exploring Tasmania’s Avifauna was in 2013 at INKA Gallery in Hobart. She has created a range of products (cards and prints) from her original work which supplied through various retail outlets in Tasmania under the name The Little Wren. Helen also donates to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal, has provided artwork to raise money for the Save the Orange Bellied Parrot appeal and contributed to work to the book Birdsong – A Celebration of Bruny Island Birds.

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Once Upon A Branch

Wild Island Tasmania
33 Salamanca Place, Battery Point, Tasmania, Australia

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