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Birds and Light
Lars Jonsson

Winner of the 2002 Best Bird Art Book, Worldtwitch

Hardcover | 2003 | This edition is out of print | ISBN: 9780691114897


Lars Jonsson is widely considered the greatest nature artist of his generation. His beautiful and inspirational artwork depicting birds and other wildlife has been appearing in print for more than thirty years, and his original paintings are sought after by collectors. This lavishly illustrated and elegantly written book describes his life and work through stunning examples of his art and through his own words.

Part autobiography and part exploration of technical method, Birds and Light is an extraordinary and authoritative retrospective of Jonsson's career. It is also a celebration of birds, wildlife, and wild places.

Jonsson talks of a life's work studying and capturing the relationship between birds and light. Superbly reproduced artwork appears throughout the book, including pages from Jonsson's earliest sketchbooks, finished plates from his field guides, and some of the artist's majestic full-scale canvases, presented at various stages of development. Jonsson discusses the artistic process, from the importance of sketching from life, to the discipline of painting for field guides and the ability to express subtlety of environment and atmosphere in paint.

No other artist captures the "feel" of a bird so perfectly. Jonsson's exceptionally accurate and expressive style reflects a combination of talent and countless hours in the field. His career as a premier bird artist, and as a globally renowned ornithologist, was first consolidated in the 1970s with his series of enormously popular pocket guides to European birds grouped by habitat, which broke new ground with its remarkable illustrations. His field guide Birds of Europe, published in 1992, exquisitely demonstrated his ability to depict with great accuracy the detail of plumage and posture that enables birders to distinguish between similar species.

Jonsson's thoughts on wildlife artistry, and his engaging account of his own career, make Birds and Light a fascinating read for all those interested in birds, birdwatching, and bird art. And the sumptuous illustrations, many published here for the first time, make this magnificent book something to be treasured forever.


"Jonsson is immensely popular with the ornithologically inclined, who will be delighted with this beautiful catalog of his work."--Booklist

"[Lars Jonsson is] a renowned ornothologist, and Birds and Light showcases both his art and his knowledge. Included are personal reflections on wildlife artistry and an account of Jonsson's career, but the main attraction is the eye-popping display of images. Gorgeously reproduced art appears throughout."--Toronto Globe and Mail

"The book is lushly and generously illustrated throughout, and the full-page sketchbook studies are particularly breathtaking. Lyrical combinations of soft, fluid pencil strokes tinted with vibrant and precise splashes of color glide and flutter across the pages. While art historians may debate the importance of Jonsson's paintings, they are undeniably beautiful."--Library Journal


"Lars Jonsson is one of those rare artists whose work is so true and pure that it influences whole generations of younger artists. His work shows a tremendous range from realistic illustration to loose impressionism, but even his most detailed illustrations still capture the essence and spirit of the subject, and even his most impressionistic works show an intimate knowledge of the details. His paintings are eloquent, evoking memories and feelings of watching nature, and looking at these paintings is for me much more than a visual experience. What a treat to have such a beautifully-produced collection of his work, with a very insightful text that explores his development as an artist and the thoughts and philosophies behind the paintings. Simply a marvelous book."--David Allen Sibley

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File created: 3/10/2015

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