San Joaquin Audubon Society Virtual General Meeting
Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 7:00 pm
Don't miss the first meeting of the fall season. Keith Hansen will be speaking about his beautiful brand-new field guide Hansen's Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada.
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Meeting ID: 869 2198 4428
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Read Keith's Bio-
With my father a Naval Aviator, stationed in Corpus Christi, I was born in Beeville Texas. Moving to Hawaii our family then found ourselves living at the entrance to Pearl Harbor. Dad was based on Midway Island and flew Airborn Early Warning missions between there and Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Next assigned to Washington, D.C., we then moved to the leafy woods of Maryland.
From the first, to the sixth grade, I fell deeply in love with the lush forests and creatures that surrounded our home. In the summer of 1970, my older brother Rob introduced me to an exquisite being in the form of a Cedar Waxwing. My full attention then focused on birds, seemingly overnight. My dad retired in 1970, and our family moved home to Fresno, the town of my parent’s upbringing. My father soon opened Bob’s Village Hobby in Fresno and our family settled into California’s great San Joaquin Valley.
Coming from a long line of artists, my deeply talented mother, Janice bestowed upon each of her her six children, Doug, Rob, Brad, Craig, Jennifer, and me, an appreciation of all things creative. With her fine work, teaching skills, and the abundance of art books that filled our home, it was a sanctuary of creativity. My passion for birds and the combination of artistic energy that flowed through our home seemed to naturally form my path in life. I took up illustrating birds in 1976, my senior year of high school.
I explored much of California as a young man, focusing on the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada, and the coast of central and northern California. It wasn’t long before I began to expand my horizons toward the tropics. Mexico and Central America found me enveloped in the varied habitats that grace that vibrant part of the Americas. Exploring Samoa and the tropical Pacific aboard a NOAA research vessel and then a foray to the Andes, the Galapagos, and the Amazon of Ecuador pushed my sphere of experience further. I began volunteering for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, both at the Bolinas Palomarin Field Station, and nine adventures to the Farallon Islands. This introduced me to the breathtakingly beautiful region surrounding Marin County’s Point Reyes Peninsula. Capturing and gently handling hundreds of birds for banding studies gave me an intimate understanding of their build, anatomy, plumage and character, all crucial things for a budding bird artist.
For subject material I employ video footage I have taken of some 1,200 species of birds to capture their unique postures from interesting vantage points. Whether I am illustrating a Bearded Bellbird in Trinidad, a Griffon Vulture in the Pyrenees, or a Crimson Topaz in Guyana, these moving images enable me to pause the tape and sketch form and feather.
Over the years, I have enjoyed creating bird illustrations for various organizations to adorn or enhance publications. These have included books, scientific journals, magazines, newsletters, and logos. Additionally, I have painted murals, taught drawing classes in Trinidad and Montana, had art shows in California and Colorado, displayed works at Bird Symposiums in Texas, California’s Central Valley and New Jersey, and produced a myriad of private commissions.
After working on a dozen books, I illustrated a publication for the Yosemite Association “Birds of the Sierra Nevada: Their Natural History, Status, and Distribution”, authored by Ted Beedy and Ed Pandolfino. Taking about 14 years to illustrate the 320 species that occur in that great mountain range, and five years to write, my latest book, is a companion volume entitled “Hansen’s Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada.” The 1,270 individual watercolor and colored pencil illustrations portray each species plumage’s highlighting age, sex, seasonal or geographic differences as well as their voices and appearance in flight.
My workspace, The Wildlife Gallery” is located in Bolinas California as part of the Bolinas Museum, where visitors are welcome to the studio to view originals, prints, and the various works I have on display.
My wife Patricia and I live in Bolinas.
-- Alan England, Stockton