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Boston Area Zick Alert!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is a Zickefoose. Definitely not a Clem.  Here's Bob in his favorite spot, probably heading over to (or from) Monomoy Island on the elbow of Cape Cod. He was a shorebird himself. Or maybe a corvid. I miss him dearly.

There's a fabulous exhibit of the original art of Robert Verity Clem up right now at Massachusetts Audubon's Visual Arts Center in Canton.  Bob painted birds, true, but he painted them in context, as you'd see them, in all the right places and in all the most stunning light regimes. The last time I was in his studio, and it was long ago, he was painting corvids against the light. Crows and ravens, more crows and ravens, and each painting made me take my breath in. They were places you could be, slants of light you knew, and then there were the birds, doing things and flashing wings.

As part of the observances, I've been asked to give a couple of presentations at the VAC. Bob was a very important person in my development as a bird painter, giving guidance to my process and product in the 1980's and '90's. Of course I stared holes in the only widely published examples of his work, in Peter Mattheissen's Shorebirds of North America. But it was his hands-on critique of my stuff that really made an impression. He showed me how to go to the living bird to paint what is true. I'm so thankful to have fallen under his influence. It changed the course of my life.

Though I feel wholly unworthy of being called a protege of Bob's, I leapt at the chance to come to Massachusetts in November, and agreed to speak a bit about that influence and the arc of my work. I'll spend this week working on the illustrated talks, and I can't wait!

Here's the scoop:

The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds
Saturday, Nov 12, 2pm
Julie Zickefoose, artist and writer, was mentored by Bob Clem in the 1980s. She will talk about how that experience shaped her life with birds: studying, painting, healing them when they’re broken, and mothering them when they’re orphaned.
Painting Birds with Julie Zickefoose
Sunday, Nov 13, 11am
Have you ever wondered how an artist goes about gathering inspiration and reference for a painting? How a painting is done, from the first sketches to the final wash? How an artist manages to make a living drawing and painting natural history subjects? Widely-published artist Julie Zickefoose opens her sketchbooks, studio, and gallery for
a walk-through in this slide talk.

 To register for these programs, call the Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center,  at 781-821-8853  It's at 963 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021. 
  Here's a link to its programs page for more information.

I am TOTALLY excited about this trip. All fluttery. How often do I get over to the East Coast? Like, nevah. God willing and the river don't rise and it don't snow two feet and the power stays on, there will be an aviary of terrific modern bird artists present at  these talks, any one of whom can paint rings around me. The discussion ought to be lively and fun. These are my best buddies.  So  give them a call and come on down, and tell the nice people at the VAC that I sent you. And don't forget to blurt "BLOG!" when we meet!


I wish you could video these talks you give. I would easily pony-up $$ to see them. Wish I could be there. Sigh~~

You covered most of the freak East Coast weather phenoms of this year...but you should also throw in "no earthquake, no hurricane, and no tornado" along with the river not rising and snow not blasting...
Safe trip to you.

NOOOOOO!!!!! The first weekend we're all booked up with plans to be out of town and you will be right next door. Phooey. I'll think of you on Sunday when we stay at the lake with Fender in tow. It'll be nice to get away even if I'm missing out on your talks. Have a wicked good time in Boston :)

I'm from the Boston area but now live in SE Ohio. I have always loved going to the Cape. You should check out Wellfleet where big beautiful sand dunes meet the ocean!

Sounds like a fun gig!

Any ideas how a person might be able to make that plover piece appear below her xmas tree someday?

(it's gorgeous!)

: )

I hope there isn't too much snow and that the event is well attended and BOY would I love to be there! But alas, it is far too far away!

I'd give anything to see/hear those talks also. I sure hope you guys videotape them and offer the videos for sale also. I can afford to buy them but not travel from California where I just started volunteering at Sacramento NWR.

What Lisa said.

Thank you for keeping R.V. Clem's legacy alive. I would have loved to have seen him at his studio; his work process. I am amazed that works with his sensibilities seem to have fallen out of favor in the U.S. I was saddened by hearing of his passing. I am far - in southernmost FL; would have loved to have gone up for this event. Thanks

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