Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Friday, May 12, 2006


"That's not much of an envelope!"

"Not much of an entry."

For those who don't know, BIRDS IN ART is the premier annual exhibition of Bird Art. Hosted by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, the submissions of artist from all over the world are winnowed down each spring to 100 works of art, which will be installed at the museum in the fall. A selection from that show will subsequently tour for about 14 months. In early May, nature artists check their mail boxes, hoping for the "big envelope," filled with forms to be filled out and sent back to the museum, and not the "little envelope," which contains the single Dear John letter.

I've faithfully submitted to BIRDS IN ART every year since 1989, and believe I may have established a new record. Last night I retrieved from my PO box my 14th BIA rejection for the little fellow pictured above.

So how about you? Which envelope did you get?
illustration: CRASH-BARRIER WALTZER--BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE (2005) acrylic 30" x 22"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I officially crown you the Susan Lucci of the Bird Art world :-). (it took her 19 years of nominations to win an Emmy, so maybe your luck will turn soon too)

By the way, I am really enjoying your pictures through this blog, and I like the one you've got here especially.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Carel Brest van Kempen said...

Thanks, Jenn. Since I actually did get into BIA fou times, I probably don't deserve the tiara, and should place it respectfully instead on the head of David Sibley, who has never gotten in, though I doubt he can boast of 14 rejections. Each year the Woodson Museum names a "Master Artist" for the show. They've gone through all the obvious ones, and as far as I can see, Sibley (who was the first person to add much useful innovation to the field guide format since R.T. Peterson) is the only unnamed person left who really deserves the honor.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Carel, not again! I don't know what is wrong with all those jury people. Well, I got the BIG envelope yet again, so will be on my way to Wausau in September. Keep try'in, Carel.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Carel Brest van Kempen said...

Congratulations, Terry--but no big surprise. I'll stop submitting to BIA when they pry my cold, dead fingers from the...from the...I don't know, from that little flag thing on the side of the mailbox that tells the mailman there's something inside?

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well the others must be really something phenomenal. I can't imagine a painting better than yours.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! If that painting is worth a rejection letter I've got to see the winners.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Carel Brest van Kempen said...

Pam: Thanks for your kind words. Yes, the exhibition is always wonderful. A full-color catalog is available on the Woodson Museum's website.
Clare: I appreciate your remarks, Clare, even though your pro-corvid bias is well known.

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I will join your club...I received my third "little envelope"...

No biggee! Why don't we just take our paintings off somewhere else and start our own Birds in Art??? Yeah...that's what we should do! We won't let them in our club house when they come to visit either!

We will make it someday, I know you will fer shure! I may go to the opening seeing how close it is to me here, it will be great to see my old freinds again...and throw cake on them. Just teasing--

Have a great day, and still lovin' your blog!

3:25 PM  
Blogger Carel Brest van Kempen said...

Congratulations, Vikki! You're on your way to a noble record of your own. Good luck, though, in closing the gap--you'll need it, sister.

9:25 AM  

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