ARTIST JEFF LONG – The Birds of California: Beyond Audubon – At the Toomey Tourell Gallery

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Jeff Long’s work isn’t for the birds. That is, until now. Next  month, the internationally known and widely collected artist takes flight with a vivid series of watercolors – Jeff Long’s The Birds of California: Beyond Audubon – sales of which benefit the nonprofit Earth Island Institute.

bloody-island
BLOODY ISLAND
39 x 60″, watercolor, gouache, ink on paper

“I have to admit, my gallery was a little nervous with this new focus for me,” quipped Long whose multi-layered abstracts are highly prized and highly marketable. “Seriously, though, this work is a return to realism for me. I was always very graphic in my approach, and this allows me to use my love of the great outdoors as a jumping off point.”

A source for the paintings, reflected in the show’s title, is the legacy of noted naturalist painter John James Audubon whose depictions of birds and nature have become iconic and almost sacred.  Interestingly, however, Audubon never traveled further West than the Mississippi Valley. He relied for his depictions of Western species on specimens procured for him and shipped stiff and lifeless.

farallon
FARALLON
60 x 39″, watercolor, gouache, ink on Lenox, acid free paper

“Wanting to give Western birds their due, I conceived of fleshing out the visual record,” says Long.  “Plus,  I also wanted to introduce elements of contemporary ecological awareness, the history of humankind’s impact on nature, and possibly a bit of allegory.”

Long started the project with depictions of local vignettes, particularly on the three-acre piece of ground in Lake County, California, where Long has a weekend studio. He began adding in visual references to episodes he had witnessed in travels to such places as the Great Plains of North America and the wild areas of Africa. With nature as the theme, Long reached out to the respected Earth Island Institute, headquartered in Berkeley.

For 25 years, Earth Island Institute has been a hub for grassroots campaigns dedicated to conserving, preserving, and restoring the ecosystems on which our civilization depends. Its Project Support program acts as an incubator for start-up environmental projects, giving crucial assistance to groups and individuals with new ideas for promoting ecological sustainability. Since its founding in 1982 by legendary environmentalist David Brower, Earth Island Institute has provided fiscal sponsorship to more than 100 projects around the globe.

judicial-proceeding
JUDICIAL PROCEEDING
39×60″, watercolor, gouache, ink on paper

“To concentrate one’s awareness on the forms of life with which we share our habitat is to be amazed by many things, including a near miraculous tenacity, adaptability, intelligence, and visual splendor,” Long continues. “The process of painting these subjects reminds me, that for all our divorcement from nature, these living things are still recognized across cultures as a shared language of associations for humans.”

The full solo show of Jeff Long’s Birds of California: Beyond Audubon will have two openings. The first is at Long’s usual gallery, San Francisco’s Toomey Tourel (49 Geary Street) from July 5th – August 13th, with a public reception on Thursday, July 7th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The second showing is a week later in San Francisco at the TransAmerica Center (505 Sansome Street), which will run through the end of August. A reception is planned for Thursday, July 14th, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

kelseyville
KELSEYVILLE
19-1/4 x 38″, watercolor, gouache, ink on Lenox, acid free paper

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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