David Sibley’s paintings connect millions of people with the lives of birds. His talent in observing and portraying birds culminated in The Sibley Guide to Birds. Sibley describes how he learned to sketch and illustrate birds such as this Townsend’s Warbler: “I spent years in the field, just traveling and birding and sketching,” he says. “ . . . The drawing was so important to me, that there was never any question in my mind of continuing to paint the birds. It’s how I study the birds.”
Sketching and Painting the Impression of Many Experiences
With David Sibley
Interview and script by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Song of House Finch]
David Sibley’s paintings connect millions of people with the lives of birds. His delight and skill in observing and portraying birds culminated in The Sibley Guide to Birds. [Song of Canyon Wren]
“I spent years in the field, just traveling and birding and sketching. Just doing pencil sketches – getting to know the birds – learning the shapes and the postures and the general patterns. [Cooing of Morning Dove]
The drawing was so important to me, that there was never any question in my mind of continuing on to paint the birds. It’s how I study the birds.
[Drumming of American Three-toed Woodpecker]
And when I go into the studio to paint, I have my sketches, I gather together all the photographs I can find, I’ve already visited museums and looked at specimens and taken notes on those…but what I try to put into the painting is sort of a synthesis of all of the things that I’ve seen, all the things that I’ve learned. It’s the impression of many experiences.” [Song of Townsend’s Warbler]
You can watch a video of David Sibley sketching a Townsend’s Warbler at birdnote.org.
[Call of Black-capped Chickadee]
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of the House Finch [ML 105669] and song of Canyon Wren  recorded by G.A. Keller; cooing of Morning Dove  by W.R. Fish; drumming of American Three-toed Woodpecker  by D.S. Herr¬¬¬¬; call of Black-capped Chickadee  by R.S. Little; ambient drawn from  Canyon Wren; song of Townsend’s Warbler  recorded by D.S. Herr.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org July 2014/2021 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# sibleyd-01-2014-07-15sibleyd-01 JK Studio Tracks 17:57, 14:12, 18:95