Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Why Paint Birds?" - ArtQuench Welcomes Barbara Rudolph To The Family!

ArtQuench Gallery

Announces Barbara Rudolph

The Winner of the AQG Juried International

OPEN THEME Art Competition

You can read my story .......

"Why The Birds?"

This summer it seems that many of my friends and family are on vacation either out of state or out of the country.  Since I am staying home this summer in our sweltering heat I am trying to catch up on my many paintings in progress.   One day I happened to come across two online magazines called "Art Quench Magazine" and also "On Purpose Magazine."  

They had a competition to win a free years worth of promotion on their gallery of resident artists.  I applied and happened to win the open themed art competition.  They asked me to write a story about myself and my work.  One question I am repeatedly asked at my art shows is

"Why The Birds?"

It took me a while to answer the question, but my work was definitely inspired by my late father.  "Art Quench Magazine" just posted my story on their site, and if by chance you might be interested you can read it here by clicking on this link:


Art Quench Magazine and On Purpose Magazine offer their Residence artists a place to promote and sell their art work to a wide range of clients including designers, collectors, the public and many galleries. Each month they select one or more resident artist to promote through ArtQuenchMagazine.com and OnPurposeMagazine.com


If you prefer to just read it here without the images....this is my story and answer as to why I paint birds.

Why The Birds?

Imagine a little bird sitting on top of an antique typewriter, a classic book, or an Amati violin.  
How can a painting tell a story through an unusual combination of objects than invoke a fond memory with appeal?  When people look at my current series of oil paintings, they often ask "Why the birds?" 

Growing up, my late father used to enjoy making wood carvings of birds.  Although it was just a hobby for him, he did create many beautiful sculptures of birds.  He often asked me to paint birds, however I didn't listen to him until much later in my art career.  

Back in the early days of my career, I was painting a variety of subject matter. I painted figurative, floral art, abstract and even some landscapes.  I was trying to paint a little bit of everything....but I never even gave a thought to painting birds.  Just out of college, I worked for a couple of different fine art publishing companies that sold artwork to the trade.  In those days, struggling to make a living as an artist required working fast and doing whatever was "in style" at the time.  I had to paint almost constantly and it was more about "volume" than finding my own way as an artist. That life style supported me for many years as a single mother of one child.  Although I gained experience and was making a living as an artist, I was slowly burning out.  I longed to paint something that not only I connected with, but something that others could connect with as well.  I wanted to "tell a story" with my art that would bring joy into the lives of others.  Art is so much more than just trying to match the colors in a room.  It can be a powerful tool and also a visual journey of discovery.   I was still searching to find my own voice through my paintings. 

Over the years, as I continued to paint a variety of subject matter, I studied to learn more about painting techniques of the masters, how to mix colors and paint shadows etc. I was however still undecided about having a "theme" to my work.  During this time, my father suffered a stroke and was not able to communicate verbally any longer.  It was a very difficult time, he had always been quite supportive of my art career.  It was through my daily visits with him over the course of a couple of years that I came to have an interest in "birds."  I used to sit with him and try to get him to look at his old notebooks on birds to help him remember his hobby of bird carving.  I remembered how he always used to say to me ...that I should paint birds.   I tried painting a few  mini oil paintings of birds and I would give each one a name after one of his best friends.  I brought  them with me on my daily visits to show him.  I hoped it would help him with reconnecting with the memory of his best friends as well as with his interest in birds.  At that time I was doing a big art show in Scottsdale, Arizona and people began to notice the small bird paintings and they were beginning to sell faster than I could paint them.

During the next few years I began a whole new series of oil paintings with "birds in art."  I focused on intimate portraits of birds with objects, musical instruments, books or anything that I thought would help "tell a story." The birds in my paintings are almost always portrayed in an unexpected place as opposed to their natural habitat.  I try to connect the viewer with a fond memory of their own through my art.  As I started to receive commissions my subjects even expanded to sports themed art too, but always with birds.  

My goal as an artist is to make realistic paintings that can convey an intimate message to the viewer.   I hope to invoke a sentimental connection with humor and appeal.  As my ideas were flowing and my work was advancing in quality and skill, I was accepted into the prestigious "International Guild of Realism."  That has kept me striving to continue to do my best possible work.  

I finally found a subject that I enjoy immensely.  There is definitely a "theme" to my work now and it feels wonderful when someone steps in for a closer look and responds with a laugh or a smile.  

Just after my father's passing, during the opening of one of my most successful shows, I could hear my father's voice saying..."See ... I told you to paint birds."


Barbara Rudolph

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