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Birds in Art

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm posting from my friends Yo and Kate's home in Columbus, where I collapsed, as is my regular wont, upon returning to CMH airport at 10 pm. They always have a nice bed and dinner leftovers, which I can tell you are much, much better than my dinner leftovers, waiting for me. I wanted to show you some things from the Birds in Art show at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI, where I've spent the last four days.

It's so exciting and inspiring to see the works of 112 artists from around the world, all of them dealing with birds in some way. It's even better to hang out with those artists, and discover all our common ground, from health insurance and cash flow issues to the quirks of our creative process. I took only a few photos (for me), being much more interested in living it. Apologies for bad color and flubby retouching. It's hard to get a good photo in dim gallery lighting.

I had the pleasure of seeing paintings from Catherine McClung
and Suellen Ross
watercolorists who do what I do but do it a whole lot better. Whew. What gorgeous, lush work! and what wonderful people they are. I look at these paintings and marvel. I know what went into them all too well. Glorious!

John Busby, from Scotland, is this year's Master Artist, an honor overdue. Here are his diving boobies.
There's no one who can see and sketch birds in flight like John Busby. His paintings are so lively, so full of action, and every bird spot on.

I love his "society scenes" like this one.
John draws what he sees, and his compositions are such fun to wander within.

I spent a great deal of time talking with sculptor/woodcarver extraordinaire, Larry Barth. These completely pitiful photos of his mountain bluebird piece do nothing to enhance its beauty, but they will give you a dim idea of his skill and vision.
The razor-thin edge of a bluebird wing.
This is wood, believe it or not. And despite the poor color here, it is incandescent blue.
I wish I could convey all Larry and I talked about, the whys and hows of carving exquisite birds, the convoluted path that leads to a piece like this. It's really the stuff of a book. Talking with Larry Barth is like entering a library, pulling one volume after another off the shelf. I feel blessed to know these folks, to incorporate their artistic viewpoints into mine.


Painting, particularly watercolor, is mysterious and magical to me, but I am always stunned by what woodcarvers create. Larry's work is exquisite (if I could think of a more superlative word, I'd use it!). Brave man! Any inaccuracies would be instantly detected by bird experts, as would any slips of the knife. Thank you for sharing and the photos!

This must be a stupendous show! Wish I could be there to see what all the artists are exhibiting. Great shows are always so inspiring. I'll have to take a peek at their website to see about other exhibition possibilities or the qualifications for next year. Julie, were you entered into the show as well?


The bluebirds are indeeed exquisite, but I can't get over the detail on the juniper!!! Thank you so much for sharing these photos of some great artists' work. Inspiring. Wish I could see the whole exhibit. How did your exhibit go???

Wow! Good thing I wasn't there, or I'd've left most of the cash I got out in my refi in America's Dairyland.

THANK YOU for sharing! It makes one feel one has just walked into a parallel universe where everyone is using their talent to express the wonder of all of life. Am most jealous but grateful that you are willing to spend time sharing. Again, thank you.

It was such an amazing exhibit and I'm glad Lynne and I made the weekend journey to Wisconsin. Thanks for sharing the story about the efforts Larry put into creating that sculpture. I was entranced by it at first sight, but appreciate it even more after hearing your story.

Ruthie, you and Lynne are the bomb. You made my Sunday complete by coming down and lending your friendship and support. Love you!
It's hard to post about Larry. I would love to tell all I learned about how he made the juniper needles from solid brass rods. But it isn't my story to tell, it's his. I would love to write about him and someday I think I shall. But now isn't the time and this isn't the place. Larry is a national treasure and I hope to have a part in helping the rest of the world be as awed by his talent and intelligence as am I.

What gorgeous works of art. Wood carvings always amaze me too. How they can get such detail is mystifying. Wish I could have just hopped up there with Lynne and Ruthie. Someday...

Julie, you are a treasure! I have the DVD of your Woodson Art Museum program to watch when things settle down a bit here and I have some time to call my own. I'm going to share a link to this blog entry with the very lucky collectors who commissioned Larry to create the mountain bluebirds!

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