The British Are Coming

By: Catie Anderson, curator of education on August 28th, 2019

The British are coming to galleries near you, and I for one can’t wait to see and hear them. Who doesn’t love a good accent? Like most Americans, I can’t help but succumb to an endearing English accent; just ask my BritBox, Acorn TV, and BBC America queues.

My work editing Birds in Art audio tour app videos affords me the opportunity of listening to exhibition artists tell the stories behind their artwork. Encounters in the field, favorite birding spots, unexpected compositions, sentimental objects, environmental advocacy, and even dreams serve as sources of inspiration, which artists translate into striking avian-themed artwork. Birds in Art artists are unfailingly generous and accessible when it comes to sharing insights about themselves and their artwork with the Woodson Art Museum staff and visitors.

Consider that – each year – about a dozen artists, who are already offering their artwork for all to see, are also willing to record themselves speaking about their work, in the hope it will help those who listen make a connection to their art. Artists who record for the app also share images of themselves at work in their studios, reference material, preliminary studies, and pictures of their in-progress artwork to further illustrate their creative process. Very generous, indeed.

Final Cut Pro editing for Kerry Miller’s app video on her 2019 Birds in Art artwork, Audubon’s Birds of North America.

I edit the artists’ audio files and images using Final Cut Pro, usually spending a couple of hours (or more) on each short video. I endeavor to make sure the audio is clear, the content accessible, and the imagery complementary to the artists’ words. The app videos are made all the more memorable by the range of voices creating them and, this year, visitors can look forward to English accents courtesy of Alan Woollett and Kerry Miller.

Left: Alan Woollett, Evening Barn Owl, 2015, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencil on Fabriano Artistico hot press paper; Right: Kerry Miller, Audubon’s Birds of North America, 2019, vintage book and acrylic

2019 Master Artist Alan Woollett hails from Maidstone, Kent where he lives with his wife and two children, who will join him for the upcoming Birds in Art opening weekend festivities. In his three app videos, Alan describes the concepts behind his artwork and his affinity for colored pencil; preview Alan’s exhibition artwork and approach via his introductory video below.

Artist Kerry Miller lives in Henley-on-the-Thames, Oxfordshire (you can’t make up charming names like this). In the video below, Kerry offers an overview of the process behind her altered-book sculpture and how, with each vintage book that she transforms, she creates an artful and eye-catching environment for the book’s illustrations and subjects to be enjoyed anew.

The 44th Birds in Art exhibition, once again, proves that the avian-art theme offers a window into a rich and dynamic world of sculpture, drawings, paintings, and prints. Varied approaches, aesthetics, and subjects abound in the 2019 exhibition, which features artwork by 114 artists representing twelve different countries.

Help the Woodson Art Museum welcome the seventy-four Australian, British, Belgian, Canadian, Dutch, Japanese, Swedish, and American artists from across the country traveling to Wausau to celebrate the opening of Birds in Art on Saturday, September 7. Visit the galleries for a tour through the diversity of art and the avian world, hearing directly from artists via the Woodson’s audio tour app videos online and onsite.

P.S. We’re looking forward to the arrival of another British-born artist this fall during sculptor Tom Hill‘s residency, Tuesday- Sunday, November 5-10.

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