By Darla McCammon
It’s down with goblins and up with gobblers as we head into the popular traditional holiday of Thanksgiving.
We are going to take a look at some famous turkey and Thanksgiving paintings you will enjoy. This week we will learn about one of America’s most famous bird artists: John James Audubon.
A copy of the book “The Birds of America” by Audubon was sold at a Christie’s auction in 2000 for $8,802,500. Imagine the sale price if it went back up for auction today. At the time, it was a world record for any such book in print. The painting “Wild Turkey” is a public domain painting we can all enjoy. The original book contained detailed paintings along with scientific descriptions of United States birds, including this turkey. Audubon completed 435 detailed watercolors for his book. The entire book has now been copied including some by the New York Historical Society.
In case you have not noticed, some dedicated breeders have helped increase the size of Kosciusko County’s turkey population. These wild birds were on the edge of disappearing into the endangered list and dying out completely, so it is nice to see them on the fields and byways, beginning to thrive once again.
Audubon was born in 1785 on his father’s sugarcane plantation in Haiti. His father, a naval officer, purchased a farm near Philadelphia. The family had a colorful and complicated existence, including some time in France before Audubon moved to America with the help of his father. He always loved the birds and his father encouraged him in that interest. Audubon died in 1851 in Manhattan. He was an illustrator, a scientist-ornithologist, and a painter. He was quoted as saying, “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.”
If you have a chance, look for John James Audubon on the Internet and you will find wonderful pages of his artwork to view along with much more about his family and life. It is worth the search.
In the meantime, enjoy his watercolor painting of the bird that almost became our national emblem instead of the eagle, had Benjamin Franklin had his way.
Upcoming and Current Events
Please contact Darla McCammon at [email protected] or (574) 527-4044 if you have an event to mention.
- From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, an artisan boutique will be held at Baker Youth Club, 1401 Smith St., Warsaw. It only costs $2 to have a very enjoyable day including food, holiday gifts, and more. Help yourself and several local charities at the same time.
- Through Dec. 28, photography by Florida artist Darlene Romano will be on display at Warsaw City Hall Gallery, 102 S. Buffalo St. The exhibit includes her version of some of Audubon’s depictions of American shorebirds. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays. Online views of more of Romano’s work can be found at www.darleneromano.com.
- Through Nov. 5, the View Photography competition and exhibit is open at Clark Gallery in the Honeywell Center, Wabash, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.