Birds of a Feather by Deborah Bentley | 2022 Art Contest Winner

Festival of the Cranes Art Contest 2022

Deborah Bentley has explored and experimented with art across a wide variety of mediums her entire adult life but her signature mediums are watercolor and silk painting. A Wisconsin native, Deborah grew up enjoying nature in the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and she and her husband moved to New Mexico in 2014. Deborah says that the Land of Enchantment has influenced her painting in many ways; notably, the most impactful influence has been in her own backyard – a beautiful view of the Sandia Mountains!

Educated in mathematics and science, Deborah’s professional career included tenures as a high school mathematics teacher, computer programmer, corporate training manager and an instructional design consultant for many of the largest corporations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mostly self-taught, Deborah had the good fortune to be introduced to a group of women in the New Mexico Silk Painters Guild. She also joined a group of watercolor artists. The friendship of these creative and talented artists, along with their willingness to share ideas and techniques have strengthened her skills and helped Deborah’s painting style to evolve.

Most recently Deborah started exploring ways to really make her paintings “joyous,” which led to her newest technique – Color Pops. This unique painting approach was born out of Deborah’s boundless love of bright colors, boredom with her tried-and-true painting style, and an ever-growing inventory of never-used supplies.

There are many steps involved in each Color Pop; other than having its roots in a general idea (like birds, butterflies, or hollyhocks), there is often little to no preplanning with this technique.

When needed, Deborah will often do a watercolor as a study for her silk paintings. Deborah sells many of her Color Pops with a custom frame made by her talented husband.

Congratulations Deborah!






















2021 Art Contest Winner

2021 Crane Fiesta Art Winner | Christina Baal | Dance of the Sandhill Cranes

Christina Baal is a bird artist, writer, and naturalist whose dream is to meet and paint 10,000 different species of birds. After graduating from Bard College in 2014, she started her art business, Drawing 10,000 Birds, and has since traveled nonstop looking for birds. Christina loves going to bird festivals to show her artwork, lead trips, teach art, and spend time with the birding community. She has designed artwork for Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding, New River Birding and Nature Festival, and New Jersey Audubon’s World Series of Birding. During the rest of the year, Christina works as an environmental educator and illustrator. Her favorite birds are Yellow Warblers, Turkey Vultures, and California Condors. See more of her work and follow her adventures at

Art by Christina Baal

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