(This is my artist statement for an exhibit I currently have up at Emporium Gallery in South Berwick Maine. It features portraits of hawks, eagles, falcons and owls like the one shown here.)
I can honestly say that birds have changed my life. If I hadn’t come upon a group of bird-watchers in Prospect Park back in the mid-1980s, I’d probably still be living in New York City, working for a large corporation, and wondering what could have been… Luckily, my initial fascination with those colorful creatures grew into an obsession with all wild creatures that led me down a long and winding path to my life now as an artist living very happily in rural New England. I often seek to express my amazement for and love of birds through my art.
This current series is based on the individual hawks and owls who live at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) in Quechee, VT. My nickname for the series has been “raptors in rehab,” since all of these birds ended up at this wildlife rehabilitation center due to some injury that makes them unable to survive in the wild. I wanted to honor their sacrifice and commemorate their new role as ambassadors for their species. Because they are on public exhibit, these individual birds have taught countless school children and other visitors to VINS about their species. I hope the biggest lesson drawn is one about their beauty and dignity in the face of their misfortune, and of course about the impacts — both bad and good — that humans have had on their lives.
I visit them a couple of times a year to sketch, photograph, and study them up-close. I’m always struck by how much they continually watch the sky which makes me a little sad. So I’ve tried to convey my gratitude through this series and also to portray their essential wildness which obviously can never be diminished. I hope you enjoy this show which I’ve entitled, “Drawn to the Clouds.”
Please note that I will donate a percentage of sales from this show to VINS.