Award-winning author Molly Hashimoto will offer a fun, hands-on art session from 1 to 3 p.m. May 17 in Wenatchee River Institute’s River Haus as a part of the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest. In this class, you will learn about some of the techniques she shares in her new book, including block prints, sketching on toned paper, etching, and more.

Included with the session will be a slide presentation about Hashimoto’s many experiences with birds and how they have inspired her art.

“When creating art about birds, it brings me closer to them — art extends the experience. With birds, I actively learn more about them, I read about them and I study my own art,” explains Hashimoto.

Hashimoto wants to meet her subjects halfway when she paints, and feels that taking a photo is too quick an experience. With her art, she devotes time to her natural muses, giving them her full attention; she wants to share this experience with others.

Hashimoto’s artistic pursuits began when she was a young child. As time progressed, she noticed that birds accompany us daily in backyards and neighborhoods, with their songs, bright colors and energetic activity. As she began to paint birds, she became what she describes as an avid bird watcher. Hashimoto is always delighted to uncover in her art details she hadn’t consciously noticed before.

“Each medium has a unique way of revealing different avian qualities — those delicate feathers and eggs or a direct and imposing eye, an elegant curve of a bill or the brilliant colors of plumage,” tells Hashimoto.

She will be available for questions and book signing from 3 to 4 p.m.

Hashimoto’s book “Birds of the West: An Artist’s Guide” was released May 1 . While creating art for the book, the Seattle resident sought inspiration in settings both urban and wild, exploring parks and wildlife refuges all over the West. In the book, she captures nearly 100 Western bird species using different media, from sketches with pen and ink to vivid block prints.

For more than 25 years, her work has appeared in cards, books and calendars. She is also the author of “Colors of the West.”

Hashimoto is dedicated to connecting people to nature through hands-on art experiences and for many months each year, can be found offering workshops to aspiring artists of all ages in Seattle, the North Cascades Institute, Yellowstone Forever Institute, Wenatchee River Institute, and Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.

Said Hashimoto, “Even people who don’t consider themselves birders seek them out. From urban wetlands to wilderness trails, we follow the sound of a distant twitter or song.”

The range of her art and precise detail encourages all of us — whether artists or not — to observe our feathered friends more closely.

For more information about Hashimoto’s Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest workshop, visit leavenworthspringbirdfest.com or call the Wenatchee River Institute at 548-0181, Ext. 2.

Tricia Cook is the administration and communications manager for the Wenatchee River Institute.