Canadian Artists: Robert Bateman

Robert Bateman

Robert Bateman is one of Canada’s foremost living artists painting the natural world in a realistic style with acrylic paints.

He has won many awards and has donated many paintings to help people appreciate animals and to help animals have a better home.

As a boy he loved nature!  He recorded the sightings of all of the birds in the area of his house in Toronto and did small paintings with birds in their habitats.  Starting in 1957, Bateman traveled around the world in a Land Rover with his friend. As they made their way through Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia, Bateman painted and sketched what he saw.

Bateman became a high school teacher of art and geography, and continued focusing his life on art and nature.  Robert Bateman’s show in 1987, at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, drew the largest crowd for a living artist.

The majority of Bateman’s paintings are acrylic on various media, and have been shown in major one-man exhibitions around the world and published in books. He became a full-time artist in 1976 and started making signed, limited edition prints of some of his paintings.  Some of these prints were donated by Robert Bateman to help raise millions of dollars for environmental causes.

In 1999, the Audubon Society of Canada declared Bateman one of the top 100 environmental proponents of the 20th century.

A permanent home for his works can be found in Victoria, BC. at The Robert Bateman Centre.

Works Cited:

Winter Bird Scene –  Option 1 – More Home Preparation

Inspired by:

Supplies List:

Drop sheet for floors, news print to cover tables
Blue paper of decent quality (NOT construction paper), black paper (construction is fine, but black paper is better)
White paint – craft paint diluted, or water colour paint
Spray bottle
Pencil crayons
Bird templates
Pine boughs to model, try to put together a few varieties and group them so the students can really see and observe the way God created the pine trees!

At home at least two days before class, put the paint with some water into the spray bottles.  With a light hand spray the ‘snow’ onto the paper.  This will work much better with a high-quality paper (greater weight, I used water colour paper that I painted blue first).  Use a large table and lay out a drop sheet, cover the table with your blue paper then spray as you feel looks nice for snow.  Let dry completely (at least 24 hrs).  These are the pages your students will use to draw the pine boughs.

For the Abecedarians and some Journeymen, you can walk them through the process step by step, they will need to be shown exactly what to do and you can do one right alongside.

For Masters, on class day arrange your space as follows:

Bird cutting station:
Black paper

Drawing Station:
Pine boughs for drawing
Dark pencils
Pencil Crayons

Snow station (optional):
For adding more snow as the student wishes, be sure there is time for drying
White paint

Bird & Nest – Less Preparation – More possible mess

Inspired by:

Making a nature scene, in the style of Robert Bateman, of a blue bird in a nest on a branch using stamping and painting.


Drop sheet for floors, news print to cover tables
Tempera Paint
Black (tree trunk), yellow (beak), blue (body), brown (nest), white (eyes)
Water bottle lids (bird head)
Potatoes, cut in half, for bird bodies
Containers for the paint that are large enough for small fingers to grasp and for the lid and potato to fit inside
Cardboard triangles in the size of the birds tail (or sponges cut in triangles for small hands)
Thin sponges for twigs
Paper towel or tissues for removing mistakes and making the eyes by removing paint.
Good quality paper for each child, one for the final and one to practice birds, both with their name on the back.  If twisting the cardboard triangle is too difficult for small hands, use a stamp made of sponge.


Using a larger paint brush & black paint,  draw two bold horizontal and vertical lines, these will be the trunk and branch(es) of your tree.

Use the thin side of the sponge in an up and down motion to make the nest.

Take the Potato and make your bird sitting on the nest and (optional) one on another tree branch.

Add the birds head using the bottle cap as the stamp.

Add a yellow beak and feet.

If the head is dry enough (maybe have a parent do the eyes or wait till home) add a small white dot for the eyes.  This can also be done by removing the paint from the eye area to reveal the white paper behind and has less potential for disaster!  Put a clean tissue on the back of a pencil eraser and dot off the paint where the eyes are.