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Lee Mitchelson Art Newsletter, Issue #003 -- Bird Art
February 19, 2021


I hope this finds you well. I am in the process of building an additional website that is strictly for prints of my art. Horses, dogs, bunnies, birds...I'm working on it! Including the newest wild horse art of the young stallion, Van Gogh, Picasso's son, of Sand Wash Basin in Colorado. I will send out information when the site is complete, but even now, a few paintings are available as prints. The discount code you received when you signed up for my newsletter can be used in my print store.

Coming soon: Canvas prints of "At Home in Sand Wash Basin" The Young Stallion, Van Gogh

A lot of my work is really for the birds!

Now, I know you think of me as a painter of horses and companion animals, and that is what I am! But there is another layer underneath, and I want to tell you about it.

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk Mixed-media ( acrylics and prismacolor pencils)

When I was 12, having already incorporated my love of horses and dogs and lizards and wild birds and my ducks and guinea pigs into my heart as things so intrinsic to me that they were my every thought, I realized that the book I most often picked up at bedtime was my Audubon bird book. I remember that the first bird I looked up was the Mynah, because we had them around us in the Hawaiian Islands. So striking, black with their bright yellow around their mouths.

I cherished my binoculars. And my tree outside my window was so close I could almost touch it. I would think, as I zoomed in on a Scrub Jay or Mockingbird face, that I was being intrusive, rude, even, though at that age I could not identify that feeling. I just wanted to be close to them. I began to formulate a plan. I could be a professional bird watcher, or by a more grand moniker, a bird biologist!

Then I made the mistake of telling my dream to adults. What was so preposterous about it? Was it because I used the big word, ornithologist, when I said what I wanted to be? I suppose that is what garnered the response I got. I don't blame them. I think I startled them with that big word they had never heard me say before, and that is when the chuckling started. I was always hypersensitive and insecure. I was easily shot down.

Decades later I grieve for the child I was who got side-tracked so badly she never thought about being an ornithologist again. But I did begin drawing and painting. Art became my identity. While I drew, our parakeet and my canary watched me and talked and sang. I painted other things I loved. My bird art was limited to pencil drawings of parakeets and quackers. My ducks! How I loved my pet ducks, and how loving they were in return. Don't even get me started about how much ducks mean to me!

Fast forward to much later. Still watching birds. Some of my most exciting moments involved seeing birds in person that I had seen in my Audubon book as a child. The day a flock of Cedar Waxwings settled in the tree outside my kitchen, I gasped then held my breath! One of my very favorite birds! There were times wild birds ended up in my hands to recuperate from one thing or another. Ones I only had dared hope I would even see, much less hold with my reverent hands. Flickers. Ravens. Sparrows. When they needed help and were flying over me, they would just drop in front of me. A Junco flew right into my arms, stayed a couple moments, then flew away. It was reassuring to me. The bond had never been broken.

Greater Adjutant Stork, trying out a nesting platform for the first time! She looks pleased!Mixed-media ( pan pastel and prismacolor pencils )

A couple years ago, I looked into joining a wildlife conservation group that uses art to benefit the cause. The group is called "Artists and Biologists United for Nature", ABUN. They do projects wherein they collaborate with conservationists on specific issues, using art to focus attention and contribute to the project. My first project with them was to help save Granite Dells, in Prescott, Arizona, from having it's wild beauty succumb to developers. This battle is on-going!

The next project of ABUN was to contribute art for Purnima Devi Barman's conservation effort on behalf of the Greater Adjutant Stork, in India. And most recently, a project to benefit ACAP, based in Australia, which is the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, in support of World Albatross Day.

Our next project is for a project in Brazil with so many amazing animals of all kinds. I will let you know about it as I get more information. I am leaning strongly towards doing maned wolf art. They are indigenous to the region and they fascinate me.

I always paint horses. Take a look at my horse art page on my website, lots of new ones! I have also been enjoying commissions of dogs, cats and horses.

What a wonderful, blessed way for me to work hard. I'm a grateful person.

Spectacled Petrel Mixed-media ( acrylic washes under prismacolor pencils )

I list small original paintings on Daily Paintworks as often as I can. dailypaintworks
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