January 14, 2016

Bird Watching as Art Research

As you may have noticed if you browse this space, I do a lot of reading. A LOT. In fact, one of my goals is to read less. Weird as it may sound, it's true. Read less = do more, is the idea. But that's a story for another day. Or not. 

What I want to talk about today is research. Invariably when I am in the midst of an art project I turn to books. I research. Sometimes just a dabbling. Sometimes enough to write my own book if I were so inclined, which I am not at this point. Because the material I collect is fuel for visual art.

It's important to me to mention this here because in the past, among the creative community, I have taken flak for my research. I have been needled to redirect my time spent reading in the library to doing my work instead, to actively create visual work instead of "wasting time" with books. I ignore this unasked for advice and continue to do my own thing, working in the way that works for me. But I know artists who have abandoned their work, never to return, because of misplaced, misdirected advice that does not suit them, but rather reflects the methods and narrow-mindedness of the one giving the advice. Which is a travesty.
Currently I am learning a little about Isis, the Egyptian goddess. While the powers attributed to her morph throughout the course of history - from what I have found thus far, she seems to become more powerful and more diverse in her powers over the course of time - the one I like best is rebirth. As the goddess of rebirth, Isis is depicted as birdlike. I love this image. Either as a woman with wings or as a falcon. 

This is how staring out the window on a frigid, snowy day isn't idleness. It's active work. It's research. Watching birds is research for depicting Isis. And no one is going to convince me otherwise.


  1. Such wonderful photos! I love this post... you got me having a jolly good chuckle and then you just break off with your witty humour which cracked me up even more because I was so hoping you were going to continue. And, btw... I totally agree with you sticking it to those advice givers :-) xo

    1. I do like to temper seriousness with a bit a humor. If we can't laugh at ourselves, we're sunk. And nothing quite gets my dander up (and my determination!) more than someone telling me I can't do something or that I'm doing it wrong. My way is simply my way, your way is your way, and thank goodness they're not identical. What a boring world that would be, if we all approached things in exactly the same way.