My first encounter with the migrating shorebirds in coastal Washington State inspired a small painting years ago that the Spring season brings to mind.
Though at first glance, "Shorebirds Feeding" may seem like an abstract painting, a longer inspection reveals the swirling forms of birds and beaks. When the tawny brown birds twist in the sunlight their bodies throw back a myriad of muted color by reflection and shadow, adding to an illusion of abstraction. The original painting is on 9" x 12" mounted canvas and is acrylic paint. The collectible ACEO mini print of "Shorebirds Feeding" (shown at left) is printed with Fuji inks on Kodak paper and is the standard ACEO size of 2.5 x 3.5 inches (baseball card sized).
I used to live only but a short walk to where the new viewing platforms have been built for this annual migration where thousands of long billed birds stop over at the Grays Harbor estuary to fatten up before heading off to the Arctic. When we rented our house there we had no idea it was such a prime location for an artist slash naturalist! I compared sea weed to algae, sketched ship wreck debris, collected lichen, studied wildlife tracks, painted misty mountain views, and walked alone with my dogs among the shorebirds. Now, according to the City of Hoquiam website, "People from around the world come to view this event of hemispheric importance. The Shorebird Festival works to bring people together for this incredible natural phenomenon."
What, you may ask, is so incredible about a bunch of birds? First, let me say, you really have to experience the event to gain the full impact. My personal experience involves a simple walk along the rocky beach. Other than my dogs and an occasional seagull there wasn't a creature to be seen on the shore. One bird with a funny long beak landed nearby. Then, before I could even get a good look at the first, I was immersed in a cloud of birds! Thousands of birds suddenly appeared at once, swarming after bugs (eat your heart out Alfred Hitchcock)! At times I could only catch glimpses of the dogs because the layer of birds was so thick. That, my friends, is an amazing experience! I can't say that everyone visiting the Shorebird Festival will have such a close encounter with the feathered kind, but a good time is assured. The peak in migration typically occurs the last week in April. The 14th Annual Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival was held this year between April 24 - 26 in Hoquiam, Washington. Visit the site for the festival for information about next years events. http://www.shorebirdfestival.com/
*Original art images ©Tree Pruitt, unless otherwise indicated. Contact the artist prior to ANY use or for purchase information.