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Jonsson, Lars. Birds and Light.

Birds and Light 0713664053 Birds and Light 0691114897
Birds and Light
Birds and Light: The Art of Lars Jonsson
Jonsson, Lars; Söderblom, Staffan; Linnel, Björn
Brummer, Hans Henrik
Christopher Helm, London
0713664053 (Hardcover)
Jonsson, Lars (sketches, drawings and paintings)
Table of Contents
Foreword by Hans Henrik Brummer 7
Looking at nature by Staffan Söderblom 11
Conversation with Björn Linnel & Lars Jonsson 49
The boy with the magic pen 49
Yearning and bird migration 61
The individual bird and the field guides 73
A place on earth 101
Birds and light 123
Paintings 1983-2002 141
Graphic works 209
Biography 223
Exhibitions 227
Bibliography 230
Postscript 232
birds, art, biography, drawing, painting, autobiography, birdwatching, biology, Lars Jonsson
English (en), translated from Swedish and edited by David A. Christie & Erik Hirschfeld
From the Dust Jacket
Since he was a small child, Lars Jonsson has had a passion for birds. Today he is a globally renowned and respected ornithologist, with numerous identification papers and several books to his credit. However, it is as an artist that the birding world knows him best. In the 1970s, his series of pocket-sized hardbacks on Western Palearctic birds grouped by habitat broke new ground with its remarkable illustrations, the quality of which far surpassed the vast majority available at the time. Reviews of his work at the time were impressive – "This young artist quite clearly knows his birds exceedingly well and has captured the distinctive posture and jizz of nearly every species" (British Birds). Lars Jonsson's career as a premier bird artist was consolidated.
Today, the standard of bird illustration has improved enormously, but Lars Jonsson's work still stands out. No other artist captures the 'feel' of a bird so completely and perfectly. His field guide Birds of Europe (Helm, 1992) was awarded first place in every category of British Birds magazine's review of field guides, demonstrating his ability to depict with great accuracy the detail of plumage and posture that enables birders to separate very similar species. Ten years later, it remains a best-selling field guide to European birds. Meanwhile, the large format Bird Island (Croom Helm, 1986) showcased his work as an artist rather than an illustrator. Many of the paintings in this book, which chronicles bird life through one summer on a remote Swedish island, take a looser, more impressionistic approach, capturing the essence of birds and their habitat in a startlingly beautiful manner.
Birds and Light is a retrospective of Lars Jonsson's career as one of the world's best-known and most admired bird artists. Here are pages from his earliest sketchbooks, alongside finished plates from the field guides as well as some of the magnificent full-scale paintings that are so highly prized by collectors, presented at various stages in their development. Throughout the book Lars discusses the artistic process, from the importance of sketching from life and field observation to the discipline of painting for field guides and the development of the ability to express subtlety of environment and atmosphere in paint. His thoughts on these subjects, and his engaging account of the progress of his own career, make this a fascinating read for all those interested in birds, birdwatching and bird art, and the sumptuous illustrations, many published here for the first time, ensure that this stunning book will be treasured forever.
Publisher's Description
This breathtaking book describes the life and work of one of the finest bird artists in history. Lars Jonsson's beautiful and inspirational artwork has been appearing in print for over 30 years, and his original paintings are highly sought-after by collectors.
The book is part autobiography and part exploration of technical method, and is a celebration of birds, wildlife and wild places. It is illustrated throughout with sumptuously reproduced artwork, including pages from his earliest sketchbooks, examples of his identification plates and annotated schematics, through to magnificent finished canvases. It is fascinating to see images of Jonsson's childhood artwork showing his early promise, and to read excerpts form his diaries and notebooks describing his inspiration. He explains how his techniques developed and influences his artistic interpretations of birds and light.
This stunning, large-format volume will appeal to everyone who enjoys the very best wildlife art and is an ideal gift.
My Summary
The format of this book is what is sometimes called a coffee-table book, but it would be a pity just to leave it on the living-room coffee table as a decoration for when guests come, although my guests have oohed and awed over my copy. Birds and Light is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed in quiet moments, both for the paintings as well as the text. Although its large format and weight of 1.9 kg (4.2 lbs.) do not make it conducive to being read in bed (I recommend a large, cozy armchair), I have spent many fascinated evenings before going to sleep reading about Lars Jonsson's life and his painting technique, both of which are treated in great detail. This book is for bird lovers, birdwatchers, ornithologists, art lovers and artists, all areas which characterize Jonsson himself.
Robbin D. Knapp © 2003
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Copyright © 2003 Robbin D. Knapp