Illustrating Birds - GNSI 2011 Spring Workshop

The “Illustrating Birds” workshop, held April 2–4, 2011, in Kearney, Nebraska, combined all the best elements of a typical Guild education experience: intensive content that provides a great foundation for illustrative work, wonderful mentoring that promotes accurate and exceptional art, and artistic camaraderie that inspires all who participate.

Workshop participant and Susan W. Frank Scholarship recipient Nancy Gehrig summarized it well: “The Bird Illustration Workshop was a wonderful immersion into the world of birds. I really enjoyed the three days and feel I have a good sense of how to improve my work. The lecture on bird anatomy was a perfect start for me, and I found the sketching of the live birds very challenging. I am pleased to say that I am looking and thinking of birds a bit differently, checking out the anatomy and structure and thinking of the shapes and landmarks—thinking about which feathers I am seeing and that structure lies underneath. Linda Feltner is a marvelous teacher, and I really appreciate her passing on her vast knowledge and experience. It was a great class and a fun group of people. We even practiced figure 8 flapping!”

Linda Feltner shared her energy and in-depth knowledge of birds with a very focused group, and the class worked hard. A variety of domestic and wild birds visited the classroom to model for the group. The “icing on the cake” was an early morning foray to Rowe Sanctuary on the Platte River to experience the thrill of dawn breaking amidst the sounds of Sandhill Cranes’ almost prehistoric calls carried in the prairie wind. None of the participants had been so close to these majestic birds before this experience. Workshop Coordinator Rick Simonson did an excellent job of putting together a workshop that both supported an advanced educational experience and imparted a sense of place, Nebraska and the Platte River, right down to the Nebraska potato casserole sampled at a local Kearney eatery!

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