Paintings of birds are inspired by direct observation of nature and from the Bird Specimen Collection at the Field Museum in Chicago, which amasses hundreds of thousands of birds from all over the world; some more than 100 years-old. Specimens in the museum are empty, feathered cases; smelling of moth balls; stuffed with cotton; their legs tethered. The collection primarily exists to research environment, culture and conservation. Changing climates affect the ecosystems in which the birds live, impacting their migration, breeding, food supply and survival. By studying their lives. we hold up a mirror, reflecting our own future as a species.
As archetype, birds possess significance, in that they inhabit earth, sea and sky, evoking humanity’s deepest aspirations and fears. Birds assume the persona of angel: messenger, guide, harbinger of life and death.