For the birds
This story was featured in the January 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
In 2006, Tennessee-based artist Camille Engel painted her first piece that portrayed a bird. Much to her delight, the painting was eventually juried into the annual International Guild of Realism show and won the Artists’ Choice award. Her awards for capturing her feathered friends continue today. A few months ago, one of Engel’s paintings depicting a swan received the award for Best Wildlife work in the IGOR show. And for the past two years Engel has been tapped to participate in the prestigious Birds in Art show at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI.
Like many artists, she paints what she loves. Years ago she and her husband created a bird sanctuary surrounding their home and her studio in Nashville. “Bird watching is a lifetime ticket to the theater of nature,” Engel says. “We love the dynamic cast of bird characters that crowd around our various feeders as the seasons change. Birds mesmerize us with their sweet songs, their intricate patterns of color, and even their unique personalities.”
Engel is a self-described “late bloomer.” When she was 23 she opened what would become a thriving graphic design company. But about 20 years later, a friend encouraged her to follow her dreams. Engel recalls exactly how she reacted upon hearing the advice: “My heart jumped out of my chest. I’ve always wanted to paint, and every time I visited a museum or gallery, there was something inside me saying, ‘You can do this,’” she says. “So I purchased brushes, paint, and canvases and began to pursue my dreams.”
Although she identifies her work as contemporary realism, she is also influenced by the Dutch masters and the French Impressionists, from Rembrandt to Renoir. “Each of my paintings extols my dedication to creating rich, visual intricacies. I seek to capture the richness of life. I want to invite the viewer to momentarily step into my world, share in my joy of simple things, and experience the transcendent beauty that can be found all around us.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the January 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art January 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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