19 January 2007

Featured Artist - John Sill


John Sill from North Carolina was one the first bird atists whose work I really scrutinized as a kid. I received slews of bird related gifts once my family got wind of my adolescent love of birdwatching. One of those gifts was often the Mass Audubon Bird ID calendar, which John Sill illustrated for many years. This beautiful composition of Black-throated Blue Warbler framed in a rhododendron grove caught my eye in the Birds in Art catalog. This piece epitomizes for me the reason watercolor is such a fantastic medium for bird art, with the beautiful clear washes of the rhode leaves, in sunlight and shade, the hinting of leaves further back behind and above the bird and the general soft clarity of the transparent washes.
An aside...If the 'BIRDS IN ART show'....the awesome traveling exhibit of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson BIRD Art museum sounds interesting and you are any where near central NY, I recently discovered that it is showing RIGHT NOW, through 18 February at the Arnot Museum in Elmira, NY. Look here at the 'Arnot Museum page'

2 comments:

Zeladoniac said...

Beautiful piece- I love that the background is nearly monochromatic to showcase the warbler, and love how Sill gets the splashes of sunlight throughout, including on the bird. Very difficult to pull off and not have the bird lose its form and look patchy. It's a great little painting!

Ken Januski said...

I stumbled upon your site today and am very taken with the quality of the art work you show. I have to agree that this is a very striking painting and does a wonderful job with watercolor.
I received my MFA from Cornell about 25 years ago, when I was doing large abstract paintings. But over the last two years I've returned to drawing and painting birds, often watercolor, which I haven't used in more than 25 years. In any case your comments about why it is such a good medium for birds and especially about the quality of this painting really ring true. It is a gem and the watercolor is beautifully used.
I just wish I'd paid more attention to birds and Fuertes when I was there!