Why Call It Avian Art?

by Lanny McDowell

“Creating beauty is a life beautifully spent.”

My company name is Lanny McDowell Avian Art.  The name means that I am an artist; that I think and create in an individual and artistic way; and that my artwork revolves around birds … avian art.  While my foundations as an artist derive from years as a fine art painter, my current endeavors are photographic: taking bird photographs while, not surprisingly, birding on Martha’s Vineyard.

I want to show, publish and sell  high quality prints of bird photographs to people who are fascinated by bird life, who respond to intriguing, inspiring nature scenes and who appreciate artful photographs that have content, color, texture and composition beyond the ordinary.  Any of those interests will qualify you to take a look online at the collection of bird photographs I have chosen for fine art prints.   To peruse, click on “Gallery & Store for Bird Photographs”, in the list of PAGES  just to the right on this page or at the tab up top.


I recently placed some of my framed prints in the Featherstone Center for the Arts “This I Believe” show where the theme was to have artists submit work that reflected their beliefs along with a brief relevant statement.  This was mine:

THIS I BELIEVE, 10/15/2008 for Featherstone Center for the Arts

My photographs of birds capture moments. Much of the time birds are on the move, doing what birds do to survive, to get where they need to be, to raise the next generation.

The images I have chosen to print – from the thousands of digital images I keep on file – may show birds in motion, but the viewer sees them as they are rarely seen in person, in detail that is usually lost in the blur of motion or the fading of distance.

I believe in paying attention to the marvels that surround us. My art, paintings and avian photographs, has been about expressing my awe and respect for powerful natural cycles: in my paintings, the patterns of wind and water that drive waves to our shores; in my photographs, it’s the wondrous life cycles of the birds that share the planet with us and inspire us.

I believe in the interconnectedness of all things on earth. The classic story of the canary in a coal mine has elaborated into a recognition that wildlife populations are indicators of the health of the Earth.

Nature is my belief. It is my religion, my faith, my truth. I believe the lessons that instruct me, the lessons that give my contributions value, that guide how I treat the world around me, are generated in the context of being outdoors and watching and feeling what is happening. Those highs temper the lows in my life. That knowledge balances the ignorance in my life. That exuberance and vitality overpower the resentments in my life.

I choose to share what I observe and feel by carefully selecting images that reflect themes essential to my world view and that will resonate with both the artistic and the spiritual sense of the viewer.

Lanny McDowell