Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thrilled to Be Back in the SWLA

American Goldfinch Eating Thistle. Multi-block Reduction Woodcut by Ken Januski.

Mergansers and Grebes on the Schuylkill River. Multi-block Reduction Woodcut by Ken Januski.

It's been two years since I applied to the Society of Wildlife Artist's annual exhibition, The Natural Eye. This was for financial reasons and nothing else. It had just cost too much money between entrance fees, shipping, courier fees and import tax in 2012 when I exhibited three works I believe.

So foolishly I didn't apply the next year, which just happened to be the 50th anniversary, though I didn't realize it. To make a long and oft repeated story short I applied again this year. And I'm happy to say that the two reduction woodcuts above will be shown in the The Natural Eye - 2015.

I believe it was also in 2013 that SWLA and Mall Galleries started showing many of the works in the show online. It's the type of wildlife art I really like and it made my absence all the more bothersome. I'm not sure if the works will be available online this year but I expect they probably will and I'll post something when I do.

I don't buy too many books on wildlife art, partially because there's so much of it I don't like. But I'd guess 50% of the books that I do have are by artists who are members of the SWLA. I always have to tell myself I'm not dreaming when I realize that I'm exhibiting with many of the wildlife artists I most admire.

This is particularly hard to believe when I happen to look back at my very first bird art, done in late 2006. It was startlingly bad, though that is probably true for most people when they start to learn anything. Still I have to feel, even if only briefly, a sense of accomplishment nine years later, most especially for exhibiting with SWLA.

Marbled Godwit and Lesser Yellowlegs. Watercolor by Ken Januski.

It should have come as no surprise to me that as soon as I posted the last post about not working from photos that I'd experience a bird that I wanted to take a photo of, and that I wanted to portray using the photo. Such was the case with the Marbled Godwit above, our first one seen in Philadelphia, seen at Heinz NWR about a week ago. There were numerous yellowlegs around him and I've included a Lesser Yellowlegs in the foreground.

I also started a sumi brush pen field sketch of the Marbled Godwit but no sooner had I started on it than some people stood in front of my scope in order to see the bird themselves. I'm sure that they didn't realize it so since we'd been there awhile taking up space that other observers might have wanted to us we moved on. But I was happy to get as much down as I did. Below him are some House Sparrows seen outside my studio window.

Marbled Godwit and House Sparrows. Sumi Brush Pen Field Sketch by Ken Januski.

I'm trying to be a bit better about field sketches in my new sketchbook. Below are two sumi brush pen field sketches from today and last weekend: a Gray Catbird eating berries from Hercules Club today, and the first Palm Warbler of the year, western race, seen at Dixon Meadow Preserve. I had to do the warbler from memory since he flew moments after I sat down and pulled out my sketchbook.

Palm Warbler(western race) and Gray Catbird Eating Berries of Hercules Club. Sumi Brush Pen Field Sketch by Ken Januski.

I have had a chance to use my new camera recently and so, in a very rare post, am showing some photos that I've taken. They should all be identified in the captions.

Upside down Northern Parula, seen along Wissahickon. Photo by Ken Januski.

Osprey with Fish at Morris Arboretum. Photo by Ken Januski.

Palm Warbler(western race) at Dixon Meadow Preserve. Photo by Ken Januski.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Morris Arboretum. Photo by Ken Januski.
Eastern Bluebird Eating Berries of Hercules Club at Houston Meadows. Photo  by Ken Januski.

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