Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Birds in Art, duckies, and what comes after

Once again the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum outdid itself with the opening of their annual Birds in Art exhibition.

More than 600 international artists in a wide variety of media submit more than 1,000 hopeful pieces to the jury each year, and only a lucky 120 or so are included in the show. The caliber of art and artists is absolutely top notch, and the museum staff go out of their way to make the exhibition experience a great one for artists and art-lovers.

It's always a special honor to be included in the show, but it was extra-fun to be a part of this year's 40th anniversary festivities.

The opening weekend is a busy one, with multiple receptions, an artists' luncheon, a patron dinner, and "Artists in Action" demonstrations. And of course someone you know had to take the opportunity to talk to people about reduction linocuts.

Sharing the reduction linocut process during "Artists in Action."
And hey! That's Calvin Nicholls and his wife Ann looking on.
Calvin's papersculptures were recently featured on Colossal. (LYWAM photo)

A great variety of media were represented by demonstrations: including oil and acrylic by Robert Bateman and charcoal by Karen Bondarchuk. Wendy Brockman and Derek Robertson shared watercolor techniques, scratchboard got its day in the sun with Cathy Sheeter, and owlman Clarence Cameron demonstrated stone carving magic... but the real show-stealer was sculptor Paul Rhymer, who poured bronze right there in the museum garden. (And sorry, I don't remember who else was giving demos because I never got out from behind my table!)

Paul Rhymer pours bronze. Show off. (LYWAM photos)
Also during the Saturday morning opening, previously-honored Master Artists shared their Birds in Art memories in a presentation called "7 x 7 x 7." The seven artists each had seven minutes to share seven slides... and if they went over time museum Director Kathy Foley was there with a gong to shoo them off the stage. Great fun.

 LYWAM Director Kathy Foley keeps speakers on track. (LYWAM photo)

One of the best aspects of the show is the opportunity for the participating artists to just spend time together, talking shop (and sometimes talking smack) and catching up with what everyone's up to. The bulk of this happens "up north" at a barbeque at the Woodson family property. The icing on the cake? How about a cake decorated with details of the work of all the exhibition artists!

Can you find my pelican? Lower right.
Yep. I think I've mentioned that the Woodson staff go all out for this event.

This year each of us also received a new little buddy: a Birds in Art ducky! Our duckies are charged with going forth into the world and sending back photos of their exploits, so of course mine is already getting around. If you want to follow them, then #birdsinartducky is your hashtag. Me, I don't use Twitter, but the museum does, so you can follow along with the fun. Or you can check out the Woodson Museum's Facebook page, which has gone quite humorously yellow already.

You might think it's impossible for the museum follow a weekend like that with any more excitement, but you would be mistaken. Yesterday morning I received an email from Curator Jane Weinke... letting me know that the Woodson Art Museum will be acquiring my piece, "Cruisin'," for its permanent collection. Holy duckies, Batman! Err... Birdman. It's a darn good thing the next exhibition is a year away. I'm going to need that much time to get down off this cloud.

In the meantime, I'll be facilitating an Illustrated Journal workshop at Buffalo Peaks Ranch this weekend and opening the autumn exhibition at Oh Be Joyful Gallery in Crested Butte next week. Of course I'll also be getting back to work in the studio with a full dose of inspiration and motivation. And a yellow ducky.


  1. the cake looks neat but did it taste all right?? :p

    would have loved to see Bateman's demo. Actually had one of his brothers as a teacher for a bit, but the less said about that the better :p

  2. Love that cake, and the duckie! Congrats on yet another fine Sherrie York piece ending up in the Woodsen Museum's permanent collection! I hope the workshop at Buffalo Peaks Ranch was fun, and you're still floating on the cloud of good vibes as this week begins...