Category Archives: Art Exhibition

Art Views featuring Sherrie York

“We are delighted to introduce a new series in our Taking Flight blog, Art Views, a fascinating collection of personal perspectives. Artists, collectors, MABA staff and other art enthusiasts have generously agreed to write about bird art that is meaningful to them. Posts may be about how an artist approaches their work, profiles of artworks in MABA’s collection, or whatever catches our guest bloggers’ fancy. Keep reading, share your comments, and enjoy!” 

~ Amy Montague, Museum Director of the Museum of American Bird Art

Trunk Show by Sherrie York

Trunk Show, Sherrie York

I’ve always been a fan of the “shoulder” seasons. Each day of spring and autumn is dynamic and exciting; migratory birds come and go, flowers and trees blossom and seed, and the balance of day and night waxes and wanes.

Although I now live in Maine, I grew up and spent most transitional seasons in Colorado, where spring is slow to arrive and high country autumns are intense and fleeting. In September, acres-wide stands of aspen trees quake with color as they turn from bright green to brilliant gold (and sometimes red!), but their show can be over with one strong wind or an early snow.

One of my favorite haunts during Colorado autumns was an area called, appropriately, Aspen Ridge. Every time I explored the ridge I was drawn to the cluster of large-trunked trees depicted in my linocut, “Trunk Show.” In fact, these same trees have been the subject of several sketches, paintings, and linocuts over the years.

Of course I’m not the only one who liked to visit this grove. Aspen stands are important in the west because they support a greater diversity of bird species than the surrounding coniferous forests. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, warblers, flycatchers… they all rely on aspen.

When I moved to Maine just over two years ago I looked forward to discovering the rhythms and colors of seasons in the northern hardwood forest. I was delighted to find a few familiar aspen trees in between the oak, birch, and spruce behind my house, but even more comforted by the presence of some of the same bird species common to aspen groves. The woodpeckers and chickadees in particular are constant companions. 

As a printmaker my first quest is always for a strong composition and graphic elements. These must be decided upon and resolved before block carving or ink rolling can begin, because carved areas can’t be erased or painted over. The vertical white trunks and dark “eyes” of the aspen tree are just such elements, and the shapes and patterns of the leaves offer a great opportunity to play with color and texture. 

In the world of fashion, a trunk show provides an opportunity for designers and wearers to meet in a more personal and intimate way. In the larger world of nature, time spent with tree trunks allows to meet our neighbors and discover all the ways in which we are connected.

My linocuts are most often developed using a process called reduction printing. All of the colors in an image are printed from a single block of linoleum in successive stages of carving and printing. “Trunk Show” required 14 individual stages of carving and printing. It’s too much to share in a single post, but if you’d like to see how the entire piece developed, I documented all the stages on my blog, Brush and Baren.  The series begins here: https://brushandbaren.blogspot.com/2016/09/linocut-in-progress-autumnal-endeavor.html

Taking Flight: An International Youth Bird Art ONLINE EXHIBITION featuring students from the Pagosa Peak Open School in Colorado

We are so inspired by the amazingly talented young bird artists that are exhibiting in this year’s Taking Flight exhibition. Since we all have to be isolated to stay safe, we wanted to bring you a virtual exhibit and a little background about the artists. We still hope to have a physical exhibition of the original art, but we want to share this wonderful work now.

Today, we are featuring three young artists from the Pagosa Peak Open School in Colorado. The young artists are Wynnie Buchner (Age 6), Jayelle Lee (Age 5), and Tevye Zissman (Age 8). Learn more about the school in this wonderful news article featured in the Pagosa Springs Sun.

Rocky Mountain Bluebird Family by Wynnie Buchner (Age 6)

Hummingbird by Jayelle Lee (Age 5)

Hummingbird by Tevye Zissman (Age 8)

Students at the Pagosa Peak Open School Creating Art

Enjoy these pictures from the art classes at the Pagosa Peak Open School in the art class taught by artist and art teacher Karla Parker Choat.

Taking Flight: An International Youth Bird Art ONLINE EXHIBITION featuring Eleanor Smith

We are so inspired by the amazingly talented young bird artists that are exhibiting in this year’s Taking Flight exhibition. Since we all have to be isolated to stay safe, we wanted to bring you a virtual exhibit and a little background about the artists. We still hope to have a physical exhibition of the original art, but we want to share this wonderful work now.

Today, we feature Eleanor Smith and her artwork, Northern Harrier. She is 16 and lives in Utah.

Artist’s Message

“Without a doubt, there are relatively few animals more majestic than birds of prey. Whenever I watch Northern Harriers fly overhead, I am captivated by their graceful beauty. I wanted to convey this power and gracefulness in my piece, ‘Northern Harrier’.” ~ Eleanor Smith

Eleanor Smith (Age, 16)

I’ve been making art since I was just little, but I didn’t really get serious about it until middle school. One of my favorite things about art is exploring new media.

I love to experiment with new and unconventional art forms like paperclay sculpture or block printing. 

Growing up in Utah has given me access to a unique natural environment. I love being outdoors, and most of my art is influenced by the nature around me. I especially love drawing birds; when I was in elementary school, I would spend hours walking around the lake near our house and looking for sandhill cranes and pheasants. My dad, an avid birder, would help me identify different birds, and I would use field guides to draw the birds I saw. Even today, I’m fascinated by the diversity and beauty of wildlife.

Taking Flight: An International Youth Bird Art ONLINE EXHIBITION featuring Mackenzie Casto

We are so inspired by the amazingly talented young bird artists that are exhibiting in this year’s Taking Flight exhibition. Since we all have to be isolated to stay safe, we wanted to bring you a virtual exhibit and a little background about the artists. We still hope to have a physical exhibition of the original art, but we want to share this wonderful work now.

Today, we feature Mackenzie Casto and her artwork, Blue Majesty. She is 14 and lives in Massachusetts. Learn more about Mackenzie at her website and facebook page.

Blue Majesty by Mackenzie Casto (Age 14)

Artist Message about Blue Majesty

“I find the Boat-billed Heron fascinating! I love how the Boat-billed Heron has such vibrant blue-blackish colored feathers. This bird is unusual because it is one of very few birds that are nocturnal. This bird also has a powder down special type of feather that never molts and grows continuously! For all these reasons this is one of my favorite birds!” ~ Mackenzie Casto

Artist Statement

I believe that art has the magic of bringing people together and making them happy. Even though I am only fourteen years old, I feel that I can make a positive difference in life through my artwork. I think the most important thing for me to do as an artist is to give people a feeling of strength when they look at my artwork and a feeling of being taken away from their troubles even if just for a minute. I like to paint animals because I think animals are full of love and are really interesting. I hope to someday help animals and people with my artwork.” ~Mackenzie Casto

Taking Flight: An International Youth Bird Art ONLINE EXHIBITION

We are so inspired by the amazingly talented young bird artists that are exhibiting in this year’s Taking Flight exhibition. Since we all have to be isolated to stay safe, we wanted to bring you a virtual exhibit and a little background about the artists. We still hope to have a physical exhibition of the original art, but we want to share this wonderful work now.

Today, we are featuring Caroline Pollan and her artwork, Resplendent Quetzal. Caroline has had her excellent artwork exhibited in Taking Flight for the past three years.

Resplendent Quetzal by Caroline Pollan

Caroline Pollan (Age 14)

Artist’s Message: “One of my favorite species of bird is the Resplendent Quetzal. These birds, who are native to Central and South America, are considered one of the most beautiful in the world. And though their bright green plumage may stand out in captivity, they are extremely well camouflaged in their forest home. I used colored pencils to get the detail of the feathers and to have the amazing colors of the quetzal in my artwork for the bird itself. For the sky in the background I used acrylic paint.”

Artist Profile: Caroline Pollan

Enjoy these photographs of Caroline making art.

Bird and Nature Drawing Resources for Young Artists

Secretary Bird, Noah Chan (Age 8)

The Museum might be closed, but we’re still accepting submissions for Taking Flight, our youth bird art exhibition. Not sure where to get started with drawing birds? We’ve got you covered!

The goal of the Taking Flight exhibition is to create a greater awareness, conservation, and appreciation for birds while fostering the development of young artists and sharing their work with the public. Submissions will be accepted until June 15, 2020. Click here for more information.

Sandpiper, Maris Van Vlack (Age 16)

Getting Started With Nature Drawing

Advice for Young Bird Artists from Barry Van Dusen

Barry Van Dusen at Felix Neck, Martha’s Vineyard (Photograph by Sean Murtha)

As part of our annual Taking Flight youth bird art exhibition, Barry Van Dusen – an international acclaimed wildlife artist and a former artist in residence at MABA – has a wonderful blog post offer advice on how to get started for budding young artists.

Advice and guidance for artists from John Muir Laws

John Muir Laws has written several books on nature drawing. Here’s his introduction to drawing birds, from his blog. This is a great place to learn about drawing realistic, detailed birds.

Let’s Draw Birds with John Muir Laws

How to Draw a Bird with Oil Pastels for Kids

It’s springtime, so we’re always on the lookout for bluebirds. Here’s a video that’ll show you how to draw one with oil pastels.

How to Draw Birds for Beginners with Watercolors

Itching to pick up a paintbrush? This video has some beginner-friendly ideas for how to get started painting simple birds with watercolors.

Taking Flight: An International Juried Youth Bird Art Exhibition: ONLINE EXHIBITION

We are so inspired by the amazingly talented young bird artists that are exhibiting in this year’s Taking Flight exhibition. Since we all have to be isolated to stay safe, we wanted to bring you a virtual exhibit and a little background about the artists. We still hope to have a physical exhibition of the original art, but we want to share this wonderful work now.

Enjoy learning about each artist in this series of blog posts. Our first artists are sisters, Iris Rosenhagen (age 14) and Cayla Rosenhagen (age 14). This post contains their artwork and why art is important to them.

Spotted Sandpiper by Cayla Rosenhagen

Artist’s Message: “On one of our frequent family birding outings, we were lucky enough to find this Spotted Sandpiper, hunting for food, on the rocky North Shore of Long Island. These birding adventures are such an important part of our lives. As they bring us closer as a family, they also bring us closer to nature. The search for rare, new, beautiful birds to spot, while being in the serene company of the untamed scenery around us is just such a powerful thing. A great wish of mine is that everyone could experience and enjoy this marvel, not only for their personal experience, but for the world. If everyone was out enjoying the beauty of nature, they would see more and more reasons to protect and conserve it.”

Crow and the Pitcher: Iris Rosenhagen

Artist Message: “From the blue jays in our yard that have trained me to feed them peanuts daily, to watching the tender courtship of a pair of crows, Corvids have always captivated me. More and more studies are showing that this family of birds possess remarkable intelligence that rivals that of apes. They exhibit an amazing memory, can recognize people’s faces, utilize tools, form strong social bonds, and even teach each other complicated tasks. One scientific study involved the use of a contraption that dispensed treats. Ravens were given a stone to drop into it and as a result, a treat dropped out. One raven figured out how to hack the experiment. He wedged twigs into the machine (removing the need to be given a stone) to receive an endless supply of treats. This raven had to be excused from the experiment because the scientists were afraid he’d teach the other participants.”

Artist Profiles: Iris and Cayla Rosenhagen

Cayla Rosenhagen and Iris Rosenhagen
Cayla Rosenhagen

Why Art is Important to Me

“My art gives me an outlet to express my love of nature and share it with the world. I’ve always been inspired to draw the amazing wildlife around us, especially birds. Birds have always been such an important part of my life. Watching and drawing them gives me such peace.” ~ Cayla Rosenhagen

Why Art is Important to Me

Iris Rosenhagen

“I have loved both art and birds for as long as I can remember. The beauty and diversity of birds enchant me and warms my spirit. Similarly, watching birds fulfills me, just as art does. Take a walk among nature through the eyes of an artist and you will see that birds, along with all flora and fauna, are living pieces of art.” ~ Iris Rosenhagen

Iris and Cayla Creating an Ocean Mural

Thank you so much for reading this post and be on the look out for more coming soon!

What It’s Like to Be a Bird: Paintings by David Sibley

Exhibition Opening

Saturday, February 15
1:00-5:00 Reception with light refreshments
2:00-4:00 Meet the Artist

Book Signing

Saturday, April 18
2:00 Talk by David Sibley
2:30-5:00 Book signing

David Sibley

David Sibley is America’s pre-eminent field guide artist/author. His Sibley Guide to Birds, published in 2000, quickly became the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, and the fastest-selling bird guide ever. His newest book, to be published in April 2020, is What It’s Like to Be a Bird, about the amazing science of birds’ lives.

The exhibition at the Museum of American Bird Art displays Sibley’s delightful original art from the new book, accompanied by captions with fascinating new scientific research about birds. In non-technical language, Sibley answers some of the most common questions asked by both seasoned birders and the general public, such as “how do eagles see so well?,” “why do birds sing?,” and “how much does a feather grow in one day?”

Visitors to the exhibition will see more than 40 of Sibley’s paintings, including 29 bird portraits, painted double life-size. The exhibition will be on view February 15 through May 31, 2020, Tuesday – Sunday 1-5pm. The exhibition gallery is located on a 121-acre wildlife sanctuary with trails, open Tuesday – Sunday 9am-5pm. Admission is free for Mass Audubon members, $4 adults, $3 children (2-12) and seniors (65+).

The Peace of Wild Things: Herons and Egrets

Opening Reception for Exhibition of Tony King’s Photography at Museum of American Bird Art on September 28

On Saturday, September 28, 1-5pm, there will be an opening reception for the new exhibition, The Peace of Wild Things: Herons and Egrets Through the Lens of B. A. (Tony) King. Admission is free, and light refreshments will be served.

For over seventy years, Tony King (1934-2017) attentively observed the world around him, capturing it with rare artistry as a photographer. “I need to celebrate and share my favorite places and the life that is in them,” he wrote, and this exhibition at the Museum of American Bird Art is an occasion for celebration.

King felt a particular affinity for herons and egrets, and the photographs on exhibit reveal the photographer’s devotion to his subjects and the habitats that sustain them. He wrote, “I am concerned that our increasingly urbanized society is confused and overstimulated, and I hope that once in a while what I’m doing helps someone recognize and better cherish his or her own sacred places. . . and to reconnect with the great renewing rhythms in nature and in their lives.”

Based in Massachusetts and Maine, King was not only a photographer but also a businessman, author, philanthropist and conservationist. His photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Modern Art, the Worcester Art Museum and the Canadian National Film Board.

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The Museum of American Bird Art is a family-friendly art museum set on a 121-acre wildlife sanctuary with walking trails, and located 15 miles south of Boston. The exhibition is open to the public Tuesday-Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Trails are open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission is free to Mass Audubon members, $4 adults, $3 children and seniors.  For more information: www.massaudubon.org/maba or 781-821-8853.

Reflected, photograph by Tony King, 2008.

© Judy and Tony King Foundation

Mated Pair, photograph by Tony King, 2012.

© Judy and Tony King Foundation

Drawing Hawks and Falcons from Life – December 2, 2018 from 10 am to 12 pm

Do you love birds of prey? Do you love drawing? Join us on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at the Museum of American Bird Art for our Drawing Hawks and Falcons from Life workshop. Click here to register!

During this class you will be able to see hawks and falcons up close and discover more about these beautiful birds of prey from a Mass Audubon naturalist while you learn to draw them from life with pencil and paper. You will be able to explore methods for developing your sketch, as well as techniques for capturing depth, volume and texture. All skill levels are welcome! Preregistration is required. Suitable for adults and older children.