Friday, February 15, 2008

"Passed" Painter and Blogger? of the Day

It is warming up...well, it's in the 40's! Compared to the teens, 20's and snow we've had over the last few almost feels like spring! So in honor of the coming season, I thought I'd feature James John Audubon (1785-1851), who called himself an, "American Woodsman".

Audubon was born in what is now Haiti, but was raised in France until the age of 18 when he came to America to live on a farm (Mill Grove) his family owned in Philadelphia to escape Napoleon's war. He was a very likable person who enjoyed people as well as roaming the land and drawing the wildlife. After his move to America, a couple of significant things happened that changed the direction of his life. He met Lucy Bakewell, whom he later married, and his parents were no longer able to support him John needed to get a job!

He decided to head to Kentucky to open a store that would sell supplies to settlers in the new frontier. However, Audubon wasn't very good at shop keeping...instead, he could be found out in the woods drawing or hunting! A famous bird expert came into John's store one day and showed John his drawings of birds. John thought his own drawings were better (gotta like his self-confidence, lol!), and decided that's what he would like to do for a living....draw birds in their natural habitats. And he lived in the perfect place to do this, the Mississippi Valley. In this area birds would migrate through and because of the growth of the area at the time, some of the birds were becoming extinct, so John had to draw quickly to preserve them!

There were some "lean" years for his family as Audubon perfected his craft and tried to sell and publish his drawings. It took 11 years to engrave and print "Birds of America". (the photos are from this book)

Audubon might have been a clever and consistent blogger too! (Just my opinion!) He not only loved to draw, he enjoyed writing as well. ".......he seemed to write continuously, pouring out letters, journals, stories of the American frontier, notes on birds he studied. Occasionally he wrote so long and hard that his hand swelled, and for a time he would have to still the urge to spill his thoughts out onto paper."-Shirley Streshinsky, Audubon, Villard, 1993
OUCH!! Wonder what he would have been able to do with a computer keyboard?

resources: "History of Us", Book 5, Joy Hakim, 2003

And part 2 of this post! The Primitive Gathering is updated for the 15th. Please follow the link to see all the wonderful offerings for February 15th!

The Primitive Gathering

Here are mine:

"Prairie Girl"


......and bunny note cards:


The Feathered Nest said...

That was neat learning about someone I'm familiar with! Millicent is really cute!


Michelle Sylvia said...

EEEekkkk!! I LOVE that bunny painting!!! SOOOOO adorable Suzanne! Happy Spring! It is right around the corner!!


Miss Maddie's said...

Audubon a man so gifted to be able to portray such a perfect reflection of the images before his eyes onto the canvas. A true master.
I see some darling reflections of spring too. I shall pop over to PG and take a peek!
Have a wonderful weekend.
xo Susan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for featuring my absolute favorite artist - I never get tired of looking at his work and dream of having one of his prints someday! Love your springtime work! Below zero windchills and a storm on its way only allow me to dream of spring :-) Patti

Tweetums said...

I love Audubon's work! I'm so glad you decided to feature him in this blog. Sounds like an interesting fellow.

Cathy said...

Suzanne, these are both so beautiful and I am in love with the Prairie girl--just gorgeous!
When you have time please stop by my blog and pick up the award I have bestowed up you.

Cathy :)
(from the cold and frozen side of the state)

Caitlin said...


It's great reading about
Mr. Audubon. Have always
enjoyed his artwork...
By the way, I love the rabbits
that you are painting.


April said...

I love love love the bunny painting!!!!

PAT said...

Suzanne, I absolutely love Audubon's work! Thanks so much for this wonderful post!


Ruth Welter said...

Love your prairie girl Suzanne, she is lovely, as is all your work. Thank you for this informative feature, love your painter of the past segment, it is always so fascinating.

Lana said...

Audubon is a favorite artist of mine ~ thanks for enlightening me on his life.
I LOVE your portraits Suzanne!

Cookie said...

If this is how you homeschool your children, they must be 4.0 students. What a wonderful education on such an interesting and gifted man, thank you Suzanne! I learned something new today ... see you CAN teach old dogs new tricks after all :)

Donna said...

Hi Suzanne,
I've always loved the Audubon prints. Great post!
Love your latest work!

Rachael Kinnison said...

Now HOW fun is THAT! Audubon with internet service~ OMG! Isnt it amazeing how the internet has changed our own lives, and in such little time! I never even heard of a computer growing up~ when I think about it....I think my introduction to them was the movie "War Games"....and that computer was a whole building big~ AKKKK! As old fashioned as I am, I REALLY do love technology

Prim and Proper Folks said...

What a beautiful tribute! Your latest creations are just wonderful, Suzanne! I always look forward to seeing your next work of art! Susan

SweetAnnee said...

audubon is so beloved!!
I'll be waiting to view your next painting!!
will it be birds??

smiles, Deena

Doreen said...

I love your Prairie Girl painted Suzanne. She is great.

Thanks for the great Audubon story. I Love it.