Magnificent Obsession | Stephanie and Bill Birdsall

Stephanie and Bill Birdsall

Tucson, AZ


What kind of artwork do you collect? As an artist, I want to support the people I know. It’s all representational: landscapes, florals, still lifes, seascapes.

Stephanie and Bill Birdsall

How would you describe your approach to collecting? Bill and I collect together, but I know all the artists. I collect pieces I can learn from. I fall in love with paintings the same way I fall in love with what I’m painting. I’m usually enamored with the painter and the painting, and I’m trying to learn from it as well. It’s also really important to me that the artist really likes the piece that I’m buying.

How long have you been collecting? Our whole married life, which is 20 years, but I have been collecting longer than that. I’m really lucky that Bill is into it because it’s always been a major force in my life.

How did you get started? My parents were collectors. I grew up going to galleries and auctions with them. It’s in my blood. In my twenties, I worked at the American Illustrators Gallery in Atlanta, and I bought my first things there.

What’s your most recent acquisition? A Sherrie McGraw and a Nancy Guzik. They were both painted in my studio, and I watched them do them.

What’s on your wish list for the future? I could say “anything wonderful.” That’s sort of the way it is—something wonderful. You collect them because you love them. I am looking at a painting I’ve had for eight or ten years, and I am still blown away by it.

What piece do visitors comment on the most? It would probably be a Richard Schmid. I get a lot of comments on both Richard’s and Nancy Guzik’s pieces. Most of the people who see my paintings are artists. So they are looking at them the way I look at them.

Is there a piece that got away? I think there is always a piece that gets away. But the wonderful thing about collecting painters who are alive is that they always paint more. There is always another opportunity because none of the people I know have painted their last painting. There are going to be more, and they may even be better.

Why do you collect? I think having something beautiful to look at every day makes me a better person. It raises our consciousness level.