This week I finished a painting inspired by the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary in south Alabama. I've been working on it for four months. When I stand back and look, people ask, "Do you like it?" and I can never answer. "I guess," I reply, knowing it will take a while and some distance before I can see it without feeling wrapped up in it, and a little tired of working on it.
This piece, "Tweet," depicts many of the birds that migrate from South and Central America to North America to spend their summer. DIBS is one of the few sanctuaries left on the Gulf Coast (and one of the most important in the world) where the birds can land and get food after their long flight over the Gulf--up to 600 miles without stopping. I attended a bird banding hosted by the Hummer Bird Study Group, a non-profit organization that catches and bands the birds to keep track of their numbers and their health. There I took close-up photos of the birds so I could use the images to paint from later. I even got to hold a few in my hand and let them go after they were banded.
I get to do some very interesting and rewarding things in pursuit of imagery and content for Exhibit A, the series of panels I'm working on now. My website will have much more detail about the project coming soon.