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Maureen LaWent

Independent Artist, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Avian Resurrection

Avian Resurrection.
Oil on masonite.
24" x 36."

This picture was conceived, researched, and executed over a three-year period using direct observations from nature, general collections materials from the UWM and Milwaukee Public Libraries, and holdings from the Golda Meir Library’s Special Collections. The initial life sketches were made of a yearling doe corpse beside a northern Wisconsin highway, followed by copies of a slain doe taken from an English hunting scene and Durer’s “Head of a Stag.” I then studied ungulate skeletal structure using children’s picture books from the Milwaukee Public Library.

The following spring, I made close observations of an immature turkey vulture and immature golden eagle feeding on a deer corpse in the northern unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest. After referring to Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies, I did a detailed sketch of Jamie Wyeth’s painting of a turkey vulture, which was on display at a Chicago gallery. At this point, the layout for the painting was drawn onto a prepared board.

Final research, conducted during the painting’s execution, included using the UWM Special Collections (concentrating on raptor watercolors by Audubon and Brasher, raptor photographs from National Geographic, and deer musculosketal studies from Handbook of the Anatomy of Animals) and the general collections (materials on deer hunting). I also observed another yearling doe corpse in northern Wisconsin, comparing it to deer in Drawing Animals from the Milwaukee Public Library. Finally, I used personal sightings of deer in Havenwoods State Forest to more closely ascertain different patterns of coat coloration.