Birds in Art

'Cran' by Emily Marchesiello
'Cran' by Emily Marchesiello

    They are a constant in our backyards. No matter how hot or windy or cold, birds grace the landscape in almost every corner of the world, sending us on our way with their cheery voice.

    To celebrate this most common of wildlife the Leigh-Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau Wisconsin holds an annual international exhibit of all things birds. This last weekend marked the 40th opening of the Birds in Art Exhibit, an international event on the wildlife art seen.  I try to attend this event every year for a number of reasons; I love birds, I love art and it’s just too silly to miss an international art show that is in my town of residence.

    Artists from all over the world compete for a spot in the exhibit and though many apply, less than one hundred make it to the wall.  There are works in bronze, batik, oil, pencil, wood and watercolor; not to mention a few I hadn’t thought of such as feathers and string. The masters are there alongside the  newborn artists, the works range from highly technical, incredibly detailed canvases to wire sculptures and creative visions of color and shape.

   But for the last four years, as I walk through the dream works of the various artists, I find someone missing.

   Artwork displayed in an exhibit tells a story. There is a beginning, a middle, a climax and a conclusion. Right there, between the middle and the climax I always think of the works of Emily Marchesiello, a very talented, creative New York artist. My mind sees a place on the wall next to one of the ‘well-knowns’ where her creation should hang,.

Emily works in various mediums, pencil, ink, acrylic, oil; but my favorite is her watercolors. I have been a watercolorist for over forty years so it is no big mystery why I love her ‘waters’. They are expressive, free moving and, for me, I can see where she ‘lost control’ of it…but in a good way. She understands watercolor must be free on the paper, be allowed to do what she will.

    Transparent watercolor is a naughty, naughty mistress. She is vexing and frustrating (the watercolor, not Emily) and will do as she desires once an artist has released her onto the paper. One can try coaxing or teasing or forcing but to no avail. If you ask her do this, she will do that.  You can beg her to behave with brush in hand as the paper is worked but she cannot hear you. She will go where she sees fit thank you. She is unforgiving. There is no hiding of a mislaid brush stroke, an artist must make it part of the painting. (This is one of the many things I love about Emily’s work, the happy accidents.) An artist must love her with all her flaws, embrace those flaws and be merry just for the chance to be with her, on her terms. Emily Marchesiello embraces watercolor, and all the other mediums she uses to create her works That’s what I love about her, the passion with which she creates and way her heart sees the world.

   That is art of the highest caliber in my book. And it needs to be on the wall at the Leigh-Yawkey Woodson Art Museum to complete the  celebration of our feathered friends.

   If you get a chance, go see the Birds in Art exhibit at Leigh-Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin and celebrate those little feathered songsters that make the day start bright and happy. The exhibit will be on display until November 29, 2015 and I’m sure you will not be disappointed. (

   Note: You can enjoy more of Emily’s work by going to . She has a wide range of interests and subjects and does some fantastic pet portraits as well, my favorite being Sammy the Leonberger.

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