© 2018 Bathsheba Monk created with Wix.com

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This series of paintings is called “Bird Icons,” an acknowledgement of two things: my Eastern European ancestry with a childhood looking at saints and angels posing on a field of gold leaf and, secondly, my kinship with creatures who share our earth, gifting us with their ferociousness, beauty and profound otherness. Much like the holy creatures in religious icons, my “Bird Icons” demand attention and respect for their place in the greater order we are all a part of.

Each painting is 30” x 40”, larger than any bird of course, some with their bodies not entirely contained by the canvas. I chose acrylic paint for its intensity and boldness and gold paint for the backgrounds sometimes layered over other colors to give the birds the exalted status I think they deserve. We can talk forever about saving wildlife but demonstrating in a dramatic fashion each creature’s exquisitely detailed uniqueness will help people see who we humans are sharing the planet with. Then, naturally, they will WANT to preserve our fellow traveler’s habitat.

I see color and design motifs everywhere in nature and I want my paintings to show you what I see. The birds in these paintings are all birds I know—cardinals, blue jays, kingfishers , pigeons—and reflect a lifetime of looking at them. In one case, macaws, they reflect a lifetime of visiting exotic bird stores.

I have been painting all my life and had two years of formal art education at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. I have sold my work out of my studio to private collectors and have been included in group shows. Now, emboldened by my vision of “Bird Icons” I am looking for a space to exhibit them as a group. I will donate ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of these works to the Audubon Society.



Bathsheba Monk is a painter, novelist and publisher. Her novels have been published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Blue Heron Book Works. She has had feature articles published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Her novel, Now You See It, was named a book of the year by the Chicago Tribune and was assigned as the entry read for the Lehigh University freshman class of 2014. Her play, Lois’s Wedding, is represented by Godlee Entertainment. Monk received her BA from the University of Maryland and MFA from Emerson College. She is an Army veteran and after being stationed overseas, spent the next two decades looking for a place to land—finally settling on Boston before moving to Pennsylvania where she now lives with her husband and feline companions Betty Boop and Kipling, who are kept on leashes while outside so as not to harm the inhabitants of her garden aviary.