The Bird Project: 50 Bird Portraits
June 2 thru July 30
Tin Mountain Conservation Center
1245 Bald Hill Road, Conway, NH
FMI: www.tinmountain.org, or 603.447.6991
June 7th 4:30-6:00
Followed by Tin Mountain Bird Society Meeting at 6:00; All are welcome!
About the Bird Project
The presentation of this body of work is my Final Project requirement for certification as a Tin Mountain Naturalist with the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Conway, NH (www.tinmountain.org). The paintings were not at first intended for this project, but evolved over a period of time. It is now important to me to share the work, explain how it evolved, and what it has meant.
The first bird portraits were inspired when I assisted in caring for orphaned and injured birds at the Elaine Connors Center for Wildlife in Madison, NH. Their fragile lives were literally in the hands of staff and volunteers. In response to such intimate and profoundly moving experiences with these birds, I began painting portraits of the different species I cared for: Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, King Bird, Chimney Swift, Robin, Canada Goose, Mallard, and Crow.
As time went on, I observed birds in their natural environment with a keener interest and passion, and continued painting their portraits. I use the term “portrait” because they are not intended to be illustrations. My purpose is to convey something felt when I observed a particular bird. They are individuals to me, each holding something unique and endearing in their wildness of spirit, expressing a life force in their eyes and posturing.
The closer I looked, the more apparent specifics such as beak shape and function, feather color and pattern became. I indulged in emphasizing “kinds” of grays, blacks, browns, yellows, blues, whites, and so on as I painted them. Variations amongst birds are infinite, including age, season observed, gender, flight patterns, habitat, and song. Although common knowledge to experienced birders, to become aware of these distinctions for the first time has been and will continue to be thrilling.
Reading about each species and paying attention to details has been enriching, sharpening my identification skills. But most importantly, by observing a bird first hand and then painting it, something vital enters me, ensuring a deep and lasting connection.