Thursday, November 2, 2006

Debby Kaspari

Thursday, November 2, 2006
Debby Kaspari at the Indigo Hill artists' gathering 2006.

How many people on this planet can say that they know TWO different amazingly talented banjo-playing bird artists? I can. My guess is that we are a small minority.

Today I am shining the Bill of the Birds spotlight on the second of my two banjo-playing bird artists friends, Debby Kaspari.

Debby is a California native now living outside of Norman, Oklahoma with her husband Mike Kaspari, an ant scientist. Among the yard creatures that the Kasparis share their space with are painted buntings, scissor-tailed flycatchers, and pygmy rattlesnakes.

I first came to know Debby via the mail and telephone, way back in the pre-Internet late 1980s when a mutual friend and birder introduced us to each other. It would be years before we'd meet in person, but DK and I developed quite a friendship through her art, our mutual interest in music and birds. At the time, Debby was working by day as a designer for a jewelry maker in San Francisco. By night she was the banjo player and a singer in "The All-Girl Boys" a highly successful, all-female bluegrass band.

These days she is a successful freelance artist with a toe in several different arenas of art and design. She is one of those people whose talent is so widely and wisely applied that it makes you dizzy.

Recently, she wrote me this:
I'm working on paleo-reconstructions for the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman where I'm doing giant acrylic paintings of extinct camels, crinoids and elasmosauruses. Besides that, I just finished with a solo show at the Oklahoma State Capitol of mostly tropical bird paintings, I have another one coming up this summer at the JRB Gallery in Oklahoma City, and I'm preparing for a big, interactive exhibit in 2009 at Sam Noble OMNH called "Drawing the Motmot", which is about the experiences of an Oklahoma nature artist on her personal tropical expeditions (this is the material I want to put into a book form, too). Besides this I do freelance illustrations, design gargoyle, fairy and mermaid figurines, cowboy dishes, and in whatever spare time is left over I play banjo and pet my cat.

She's also done a number of cover paintings for BWD, including scissor-tailed flycatchers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and northern mockingbird. Her red-capped manakin painting was selected for the 2006 edition of the prestigious Birds In Art exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum.

Her primary focus these days is sketching and painting in the tropics.

And when she puts down her pencil or paintbrush and picks up the banjo, well magic happens.
No moss growing on Debby Kaspari.

For more about the amazing DK, visit her website.

Now, here are some examples of Debby's recent work:
Semi-plumbeous hawk.

Violaceous trogons.

Debby with one of her murals of a camelsaur for the Sam Noble Museum.

Lark sparrow.

Red-capped manakins.


On November 2, 2006 at 10:17 PM Susan Gets Native said...

These folks make me realize, that in addition to the wealth, TALENT is not evenly distributed in this world.

On November 3, 2006 at 9:04 AM dguzman said...

Amen to that, Susan. So unfair!

On November 3, 2006 at 9:46 AM Rondeau Ric said...

It seems that a lot of artists seem to be gifted in more than one area.
I think a musician’s ear helps with bird calls.
The artist eye can pick out more detail and colour on a bird.

We poor mortals are doomed to misidentifications and filed guides.

On November 3, 2006 at 1:15 PM Anonymous said...

Oh yeah! The life of an artist...Just peaches and cream.
Mere talent. Not hard work and hardship. Everyone knows that!

On November 3, 2006 at 1:57 PM Rondeau Ric said...

I come from a family of artists. I missed out some how, but I am probably more aware than most of the hard work involved.

My sister has to be very pragmatic, goal oriented and organized.
The air head stereotype doesn’t apply to any of the artists I know.

They work hard for their money and any recognition the may receive.

Seems like I pushed a button there Annon.