Seekers Church has a commitment to encourage artistic creativity. One element of that commitment is the art gallery on the street level of our building. Currently the Seekers Gallery is showing an exhibit of warblers in soft pastel by Stephen Estrada. Images of some of Stephen’s work are available on his web site.
Stephen Estrada began his art career in Boston, MA. He later attended the Corcoran School of Art and Design in Washington, DC. In 1987, Stephen Estrada began working as an exhibition designer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art Renwick Gallery. There he studied the work of nineteenth century American painters Albert Pinkham Ryder and Abbott Handerson Thayer. These artists and the work of contemporary painters such as Bill Jensen provide a catalyst for themes of nature and expressionisms in his art. His most recent work explores the wood warblers, small, north American migratory songbirds.
My current work focuses on the wood warblers, small, colorful songbirds that I first observed while camping at Chincoteague Island in Virginia in 1983. I was astounded as much by the difficulty in identifying them as by their unique beauty. Through these diminutive creatures I have come to appreciate that the act of seeing is as much the work of language and cognition as it is of the senses.
Working in the medium of soft pastel lends itself to direct and immediate interplay between eye, hand and the drawing surface. I am exploring how scale changes the language and meaning of the work. At nearly life size, four and a half to five inches, these images are susceptible to attributes that make us comfortable and perhaps nostalgic.
But what of the same bird at two times, four times or ten times the scale? How do they effect their presence on our environment rather than the other