Thursday, April 17, 2008

Seeing David Sibley at the Newark Museum

Tonight, Beth and I attended a lecture by David Allen Sibley at the Newark Museum as part 1 of their series "The Art & Science of Birding." The evening started with a wine and cheese reception where we got to see some familiar faces, drink some good wine, and eat some tasty cheese.. I also got to meet David and have him sign my Eastern Sibley pocket guide. We sat and chatted for a few minutes and I asked him specifically about blogging. He mentioned how it's difficult to find time to blog and how he didn't realize how much work it would be to write posts, do all of the follow-ups on comments, and other regular blog maintenance. I told him I appreciated the quality and substantive nature of his posts and how I know that's much harder than writing trip reports and corny jokes like I do at times.

David's lecture was titled Scientific Observations, Artistic Interpretations. The presentation focused on his coming-of-age as both a birder and an artist. It was amazing to see some of his early drawings from the time he was 13 up to his current works. One prime example of his progression was shown through the drawing of a Hawk Owl (of all things!). Through a series of different encounters with this bird over a 20 year period, he showed how he learned to add detail and refine his art into what we know today. He also talked a bit about how he struggled with different layouts for his field guide before settling on the side-by-side comparison approach.

After the lecture he answered a few questions. Someone dropped the Ivory-billed Woodpecker question and David stood by the assessment he made during his co-written analysis of the Luneau video. All in all, it was a fun evening. If you're around NJ next Thursday, Kevin Karlson is doing the second presentation in the series.

And David, if you're reading, that silhouette drawing of the Hawk Owl standing on the twig was really awesome and would have a very nice place on this blog. :)


grant mccreary said...

I'm so jealous - I bet that was just an awesome evening.
I really wish talks such as that would be recorded and offered as a podcast!!!!

LauraHinNJ said...

I'd love to make it to this Thursday's talk with Kevin Karlson.

I only heard about this at the local audubon meeting - wish it made been more widely announced.