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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

James Audubon ---- Audubon Day

John James Audubon was born April 26, 1785. He was an American naturalist and painter. He is most known for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats.

Audubon was born in Les Cayes a french colony of Saint Domingue now known as Haiti. He grew up on his fathers sugarcane plantation. He learned the talent of slow looking. And took his time illustrating nature especially birds. The Audubon Society was established in his name. Through magazines and publications the audubon society helps demonstrate the plight of these birds.

Audubon's book Birds of America was produced in the 1830's and has over 435 color engravings in four volumes. There were only 119 copies known to exist. In 2014 the book was named on Forbes top ten most expensive books ever sold. One copy of the book sold for $12.6 million.

Robert Harvell and engraver from England used Audubon's original paintings to produce the book in London. The book was created by using copper plates to print on fine paper. The images were haind painted by workforce of colorists. Audubon organized the plates aesthetically, taking readers through an astonishing journey filled with wonder

Audubon used primarily watercolors but did use oils, ink and egg white to imitate the shine of eyes or a beak. Pastels were also used to affect the downy look of feathers. The life like poses of the birds was achievd by mounting recently killed specimens on wires.

Audubon had a deep interest in birds, their habits and habitats. He was a skilled hunter who killed large numbers of them o obtain specimens. Photography was not yet available. Hunting in this time was unregulated. His art would help bring the dead back to life.

Today, on Audubon day get outside and do a bit of bird hunting yourself

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