Category Archives: Museum

Show Time!

Museum of American Bird Art, Canton    May 2017

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably noticed that the posts have slowed down abit.  There’s a reason for this.  With the opening of my residency exhibition at the Museum of American Bird Art scheduled for May 21, 2017, I’ve had to put the sanctuary visits aside and spend all of my time on show preparations.

IN A NATURAL STATE: Barry Van Dusen Paints the Nature of Mass Audubon, presents more than 60 original watercolors from the residency project.  On exhibit are watercolors of birds, landscapes, flowers, mammals, fish, insects and more, inspired by my visits to 54 Mass Audubon properties across the state.  The paintings are accompanied by narrative labels that chronicle my experiences and adventures over the course of the two-year project.

Gary Clayton (President of Mass Audubon), Amy Montague (Director of the Museum of American Bird Art) and Barry Van Dusen (Artist)

In the mezzanine, visitors can see a display of my sketchbooks and field kit, and a chronological slideshow on the large mezzanine monitor includes ALL of my residency paintings up to the present time (more than 150!), along with related sketches and photographs.

The installation would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of the Museum staff: Amy Montague, Sean Kent, Owen Cunningham, Sarah McClellan, and volunteer Julianne Mehegan.  Their dedication and professionalism continues to fill me with awe!

 

Museum staff Owen Cunningham and Sean Kent talk over details of the installation

There’s plenty of time to take in the exhibition, which will be on display throughout the summer, closing on September 17, 2017.  I hope those of you who have not yet seen the exhibit (or the Museum), will pay a visit!

Getting back to the residency project – I still have a few Mass Audubon properties to visit this summer, so stay tuned for future blog posts from Endicott (Wenham), Blue Hills Trailside Museum (Milton), Felix Neck (Edgartown), Lime Kiln Farm (Sheffield)  and Richardson Brook (Tolland).  With my sanctuary visits coming to an end, I’m feeling a reluctance to finish.  It’s been a wonderful experience exploring the Nature of Mass Audubon!

A Note to Collectors

A selection of my original watercolors has been purchased by the Massachusetts Audubon Society for the Museum’s permanent collection, but many of the originals are available for sale to private individuals.  When you visit the Museum, ask for a price list at the front desk.  Also, feel free to contact me to check on availability of any of the paintings you see on the Taking Flight blog, or on the slideshow in the Museum’s mezzanine.  Write me at vandusen@dslextreme.com.

 

Young Artists Take Flight

On Friday September 23rd, many young artists who had their artwork accepted into our inaugural youth bird art exhibition:Taking Flight, were able to see their art displayed, meet other young artists and David Sibley, and celebrate with friends and family. Here are a few pictures from that wonderful evening.

YoungArtists-19YoungArtists-2YoungArtists-15YoungArtists-22

Here is a gallery with more photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you would like to see photos of each piece of art, check out these links. Each page has selected artwork exhibited in Taking Flight:

  1. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-a-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition/
  2. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-ii/
  3. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-iii/
  4. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-iv/
  5. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-v/
  6. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-vi/

 

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part VI)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Barn Swallow in Flight, Anna Rose, Age 15

“Every spring, my friends and I visit the infamous Magee Marsh in northwestern Ohio. While we were there, we saw many vibrant and magnificent warblers. Yet, of every single species we saw, I was enraptured by a small flock of Barn Swallows at the edge of a small pond. I watched them for nearly half an hour and quickly sketched their poses. Eventually, my favorite bird became a finished work of art.”

Anna Rose, Age 15, Barn Swallows

Anna Rose, Age 15, Barn Swallows

Orioles and Oranges, Anna Rose, Age 15

“Ever since I was a baby, my mom has been trying to attract orioles to our family bird feeder. Finally, one afternoon this spring, a single male Baltimore Oriole landed on an orange. A few moments later, six more orioles joined the first. It was an amazing few days as the orioles regularly visited us. My mom and I will always remember the orioles that visited us this spring as one of the highlights of our birding experiences.”

 

Anna Rose, Age 15

Anna Rose, Age 15

River Hunter, Aaron Melendez, Age 9

“The bird I painted is a Belted Kingfisher. I painted this bird because I like to go birding. It reminds me of family trips to the Indiana Dunes State Park. I also painted the Kingfisher because it is a great example of a nice dark blue.”

Aaron Melendez, Age 9

Aaron Melendez, Age 9

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part V)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Sage Lemieux, Toucan, Age 11

Sage Lemieux, Age 11

Sage Lemieux, Age 11

Bird Pooping, Neva Hobbs, Age 5

Neva_Age4

Eastern Bluebird, Jamie Davis, Age 13

“The Eastern Bluebird is one of my favorite birds of New England, because I have watched it and fed it and nurtured the nest boxes in our yard and at the Community Gardens in our town. This year Mama and I were invited to be nest box monitors at an old cranberry bog in our town. The Cape Cod Bird Club has 45 nest boxes there, occupied by Eastern Bluebirds, and we take our turn checking on them. I have loved seeing the various stages of growth in the Bluebirds, inspired by Julie Zickfoose’s new book, Baby Birds. I was thrilled a few winters ago to see Eastern Bluebirds in our yard and to watch the males and females at our feeders and bird bath. The males are my favorite color, a kind of Cerulean blue, with the females just slightly duller in color, but not in interest or intelligence. I chose a medium of watercolor for the bluebird because I loved the Cerulean Blue.”

Jamie Davis, Age 13

Jamie Davis, Age 13

White-Throated Needletail, Joseph Jewett, Age 8

“The white-throated needletail is a rare and endangered species. It is a favorite of many birdwatchers because it is one of the fastest birds in the world. In 2013, a needletail got struck by the spinning blades of a wind turbine in the United Kingdom while anxious birdwatchers looked on. My drawing includes a needletail, an airplane, and a wind turbine. It symbolizes the negative impact that modern technologies can have on birds but also how birds have inspired new technologies that create community and help to protect the environment. When I grow up, I want to design turbines that can harvest huge amounts of energy from the wind while keeping birds, bats, and even bugs safe.”

Joseph Jewett, Age 8

Joseph Jewett, Age 8

Gabrielle Ross, Blue Jay Family, Age 7

“I love blue Jays. They are so pretty. I have a family of blue jays in my yard.
Their mom brings the babies food to eat.”

Gabby Ross, Age 7

Gabby Ross, Age 7

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part IV)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Dream Come True, Owen Miyasato, Age 4

“This is a bird flying. I like flying birds and I want to fly.
So this is a picture of a dream come true.”

Owen, Miyasata, Age 4

Owen, Miyasata, Age 4

Great Horned Owl, Bennett Dowers, Age 7

“I started to love birds when I went to Drumlin Farm preschool.
Ever since then I watch for birds in my yard and on hikes.I love great horned owls because they are strong and beautiful, and because they are nocturnal.”

Bennett Dowers, Age 7

Bennett Dowers, Age 7

Northern Saw-whet Owl, Ethan Johnson, Age 12

“Owls are my favorite type of bird because they are nocturnal and see a whole different world than we do. It is fascinating that their necks are so flexible that they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees. They are mysterious because they are rarely seen by humans. I decided to draw the Northern Saw-whet Owl. It is distinct from other owls by its size and ear splitting call. It is very small and has brown and white feathers that help it blend in well with its surroundings. It mostly lives in thick vegetation. They are found almost anywhere in The United States and parts of Mexico and Canada. For the winter they travel to dense forests in central and southern United States. Their diet consists of small rodents including deer mice, young squirrels, small birds, and large insects. In my drawing I first used pencil to sketch it on paper, Sharpie marker to bold the outline of the owl, and oil pastels to bring out the color of the Northern Saw-whet Owl and the background.”

Ethan Johnson, Age 12

Ethan Johnson, Age 12

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part III)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Iris Rosenhagen, Burrowing Owls, Age 11

Burrowing owls are one of my favorite birds because I’ve studied owls a lot and they are very unique. Instead of living in tree cavities, they live in burrows. They are also diurnal as opposed to nocturnal like most other owls. Something very interesting about them, is if they feel threatened in their burrow, a Burrowing Owl will make a rattlesnake buzz sound to scare off predators. Sadly, Burrowing Owls are losing habitat due to construction. I am an avid conservationist and the creator of C.A.R.E., Community for Animal Respect and Education. C.A.R.E. provides opportunities for people to learn about the challenges animals face in today’s world, and inspires people to get involved to help them. I hope to spread awareness about the plight of the Burrowing Owls by submitting my artwork.

 

Iris Rosenhagen, Burrowing Owl, Age 11

Iris Rosenhagen, Burrowing Owl, Age 11

Iris Rosenhagen, B95 Rufa Red Knot

“The Rufa Red Knot is one of my favorite birds because of an inspiring book I read Moonbird by Phillip Hoose. It was about one Red Knot who has lived over 20 years and has amazingly migrated from South America to the Arctic so many times that the distance would be from here to the moon and halfway back. The tag, B95 on his leg allows him to be identified in different places he has flown. I learned a lot of interesting facts about Red Knots. One of the coolest, is that they lose their gizzards when they have a really long flight to make during migration so that they weigh less. When they stop over in Delaware Bay to eat horseshoe crab eggs, they grow it back to digest the food they need for energy to continue their long flight north where they mate.”

Iris Rosenhagen, Red Knot, Age 11

Iris Rosenhagen, Red Knot, Age 11

European Starling, Cayla Rosenhagen, Age 11

“I feel many people don’t appreciate the outer and inner beauty of the European Starling. The amazing iridescence of the starling’s plumage combined with its history of being an immigrant coming to the New World with its plucky, perseverant personality make this bird one of my favorites. The European Starling reminds me of my ancestors coming through Ellis Island, having so much to offer, but not always seen for all they were. People flock to the United States from all over the world…pun intended. Just as the murmuration of the European Starling is so remarkable, the same holds true for all who come to our land in search of a new life.”

Cayla Rosenhage, European Starling, Age 11

Cayla Rosenhage, European Starling, Age 11

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Cayla Rosenberg, Age 11

“Pollination and patience. Those are the two qualities that make Ruby Throated Hummingbirds one of my favorite birds. Unfortunately, we have seen such a decline in pollinators such as honeybees and monarch butterflies. We’ve tried to do our part by planting native flowering plants and by encouraging others to do so. But it takes patience to heal the Earth. It also takes patience to spot a Ruby Throated Hummingbird! I’ve been fortunate to see them a handful of times and it brings me such excitement to watch them feeding on the nectar of flowers, my heart seems to beat almost as fast as theirs, over a thousand times in a minute while they feed. Patiently I await the next Ruby Throated Hummingbird who comes to do his part in healing the Earth as he pollinates.”

Cayla Rosenhagen, Age 11, Hummingbird

Cayla Rosenhagen, Age 11, Hummingbird

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part II)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Nathan Martin, A Woody Woody Situation, Age 7

“Did you know a woodpecker can peck 20 times per second? I like woodpeckers because of the Mohawk on their head and the many fun facts about them.”

Nathan Martin, Age 7

Nathan Martin, Age 7

Olvia Colombo, Nature’s Red Lipstick, Age 15

“Much like the pop of color red lipstick brings, the cardinal brightens up nature with their bright red coloring. The cardinal is a very recognizable and well loved bird, being the state bird for seven states. They are leaders of the songbirds, paralleling the Catholic leaders, named cardinals, whom they were named after. Cardinals brighten up mother nature’s trees, and are sure to brighten the days of birdwatchers.”

Olivia Colombo, Age 15

Olivia Colombo, Age 15

Tamirat Jones, Owl, Age 7

“I like owls because they have really good night vision.”

Jones_Tamirat_Age7

Tamirat Jones, Age 7

Ellie Sweeney, Owly, Age 9

Ellie, Sweeney, Owly, Age 10

Ellie, Sweeney, Owly, Age 9

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: A Juried Youth Bird Art Exhibition

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Chickadees by Carolina Perez, Age 10

“Chickadees are beautiful. They feed their babies, just like my mom feeds me.”

Chickadees, Carolina Perez, Age 10

Chickadees, Carolina Perez, Age 10

Cloudy Home by Carolina Perez, Age 10

“Sometimes it gets cloudy, but that does not mean colorless”

Cloudy Home, Carolina Perez, Age 10

Cloudy Home, Carolina Perez, Age 10

Kendall Winston, The Kakapo Bird, Age 11

“I chose the Kakapo bird because I think it is adorable. It is very interesting that it is the only flightless parrot in the world. I first learned about the Kakapo while watching a PBS show called Animal Misfits. Someday I hope I can go to New Zealand to see this awesome bird!!”

Kendall Winston, Kakapo, Age 10

Kendall Winston, Kakapo, Age 10

Maris Van Vleck, Wood Duck, Age 14

“The wood duck is one of my favorite birds. I love the way the colors
of the water seem to reflect into the colors of his feathers.”

Maris Van Vleck, Age 14, Wood Duck

Maris Van Vleck, Age 14, Wood Duck

Maris Van Vleck, Two Robins, Age 14

“This painting was based off of a photograph I took in my backyard.
I like the beautifully colored feathers of these robins.”

Maris Van Vleck, Age 14, Two Robins

Maris Van Vleck, Age 14, Two Robins

Lila Yennior, Soaring Osprey, Age 7

“I was inspired by an Osprey nest that we saw near our house.
We watched the osprey soar across the sky.”

Erica Yennior, Soaring Osprey, Age 7

Erica Yennior, Soaring Osprey, Age 7

Hayden Bildy, Peregrine Falcon, Age 14

“I enjoyed doing the detailed work on this sketch as I tried to
capture the feather patterns as much as possible.”

Hayden Bildy, Age 14, Peregrine Falcon

Hayden Bildy, Age 14, Peregrine Falcon

Home and Away

We are thrilled to have a guest post by the amazingly talented artist Sherrie York. She will be visiting the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon between July 28 to July 30 to display her art, lead several programs, and give an illustrated talk about her printmaking. She will be doing a workshop with our summer camp on July 28th, giving an illustrated talk and reception for her artwork on July 29th, and giving an all day printmaking workshop on July 30th.

Home and Away by Sherrie York

Travel and art-making have often gone hand-in-hand. (Or perhaps that’s brush-in-hand.) John Singer Sargent’s watercolors of Morocco revealed an intriguing faraway culture. John James Audubon’s journeys recorded North America’s flora and fauna and Albert Bierstadt’s romantic western landscapes helped inspire the first national parks.

I enjoy travel, too, and will be traveling from my Colorado stomping grounds to MABA this summer. In July I will exhibit some of my linoleum block prints in the estate house and present both a printmaking workshop and presentation about my work. Of course it doesn’t always take a passport, a suitcase, or a new frontier to find subject matter. Familiar places close to home are inspiring, too.

landscape

This is Sands Lake. It’s a scruffy little body of water next to the Arkansas River in the town of Salida, where I live. They call it a lake, but it’s really a settling pond for the fish hatchery upstream. Water flows from hatchery to lake via underground culverts, then spills out the far bank in to the river.

During the day the trail around the lake is filled with fishing enthusiasts, dog-walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and birders. More than one elicit teenager party has taken place there after dark. Pristine, exotic wilderness it’s not.

But for me this humble corner provides a wealth of inspiration and stories year-round, and no small number of linocuts, too.

PasdeDucks-©SherrieYork

Pas de Ducks: All year

At the upriver end of the lake, next to the inflow culvert, is a concrete fishing pier. The remains of cliff swallow nests were still attached when it was installed, a good indicator of its provenance as repurposed bridge. Hopeful mallards congregate below the pier looking for handouts, and from my elevated vantage point I enjoy watching the tracery they create in the reflection of the railing.

 Cruisin-©SherrieYork

Cruisin’: Spring

Forget the robin as a harbinger of spring! Local birders know that spring migrants begin to appear weeks before the pelicans turn up at the lake, but their sheer size and brilliant whiteness assure that even the most bird-ambivalent will notice this sign of winter’s demise.

EPSON scanner image

EPSON scanner image

Usurper: Summer

Three species of bluebird are present in the area around the lake, but the mountain bluebird’s cobalt shimmer and soft call is the most common. Bluebird enthusiasts abound, too, as evidenced by nest boxes peppering the edges of yards, pastures, and the municipal golf course. Of course tree swallows don’t know they aren’t the intended occupants…

CootduJour-©SherrieYork

Coot du Jour: Autumn through Spring

Like mushrooms after rain, American coots sprout on the surface of the lake in early autumn. The antics of 70 or 80 over-wintering birds amuse me until spring, but before the trees have finished leafing out they are gone. I never see them arrive, and I never see them leave.

NoTimeLikethePresent-©SherrieYork

No Time Like the Present: Winter

Winter is the time for waterfowl on Sands Lake. Because so much water moves through from the hatchery the lake remains open even in the coldest days of winter. Common and Barrow’s goldeneye, buffleheads, scaup, wigeon, and more fill the lake with noise and motion and offer consolation for the absence of warblers and swallows.

 

 

December Birds

December 7, 2015
Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary, Attleboro
Early December is one of those in-between times for birders. The migrations of autumn are mostly past, and the winter visitors have yet to arrive. A walk in the woods at this season can seem devoid of avian creatures, but this morning at Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary, I manage to be in the right place at the right time.

Cardinal at Attleboro Springs - at 72 dpi

Cardinal at Attleboro Springs, watercolor on Arches coldpress, 12″x 9″

Birds tend to gather into mixed flocks at this time of year, roaming together in their search for food. Most of the birds in these “guilds” are year-round residents, but some are late migrants (e.g. white-throated sparrows), and some are winter residents – birds from the north who spend the winter in our area (e.g. juncos and tree sparrows). The path to the Meadow passes through a brushy thicket, where I encounter one of these winter flocks. The thicket is catching the rays of the morning sun and forming a warm, protected pocket. There are lots of juncos and white-throats, along with chickadees, blue jays and robins. A Carolina wren, a downy woodpecker, a nuthatch and a male cardinal round out the group.

White-throat at Attleboro Springs - at 72 dpi

White-throat at Attleboro Springs, watercolor on Winsor & Newton coldpress, 9″ x 10.5″

The white-throats and cardinal are especially cooperative, so I take some photos and start some drawings that I later finish in the studio. I depict the white-throat deep in the thicket, surrounded by bramble canes; while the cardinal is in a higher perch above the tangle.

Alder Twigs, Attleboro Springs - at 72 dpi

sketchbook study of alder twigs, pencil, 5.5″ x 9″

At Brother’s Pond, I’m engrossed with drawing the alder catkins and twigs, when another group of birds moves through. Most are juncos, but there’s also some flashes of cobalt blue – a family group of bluebirds! The adults and youngsters are scouting out cavities in the red maple snags along the canal below the pond. Bluebirds, being cavity nesters, are instinctively drawn to holes in trees, and these birds flit from snag to snag, peering into holes and crevices.

Young Bluebirds, Attleboro Springs - at 72 dpi

Young Bluebirds at Attleboro Springs, sketchbook page, pencil and watercolor, 9″ x 12″

Puddingstone looms large in local lore and legend, and figures prominently on the sanctuary maps of both Oak Knoll and Attleboro Springs. Puddingstone is a conglomerate that consists of rounded stones embedded in a “cement” or matrix of contrasting-colored rock, giving the appearance of a raisin pudding. The Attleboro variety of puddingstone features purplish cobbles embedded in a greenish matrix. I find the most attractive examples of these distinctive rocks in an outcropping along the Reflection Trail.

Puddingstone - at 72 dpi

Puddingstone