Aviary Dreams: “Birds of the Bible” nests in Holland

By Colette Gehr

If one is going to settle on a niche for painting, West Michigan surely has enough subject material to select from. And artist Catherine McClung has done just that with her latest exhibit at the Holland Area Arts Council (HAAC).

Catherine McClurg Birds of the Bible II

Headlining the show, “Birds of the Bible” speaks to the naturalist in all of us with an exceptional, life-like portrayal in vibrant and lively watercolors, of the birds mentioned in the Bible.

Framed by golden arched “windows,” the 9’ X 8’ mural presents a vision similar to sitting in church staring out at the forest beyond the clear panes of glass, instead of paying attention to the sermon.

Besides admiring the beauty of the painting, those up for a scavenger hunt, can try their hand at locating all 33 different species located within the artwork.

While I was intrigued by the skillful techniques used by McClung, personally, I was a little bit overwhelmed with the expansive busyness as a whole.

Instead, I was quite taken by the individual watercolor pieces included in the whole display. Observing “Wild Iris and Yellow Warbler,” one could be instantly transported outside, serenaded simply by a bubbling brook and a band of birds. Amazed by those incredible details, right down to the iridescent water droplets lining the reeds, I found the simple scene evoked a greater sense of ethereal magic.

However, throughout all of her pieces, the artist is a master in use of color, bright and bountiful, without being overpowering. In addition, with the way she blends colors, one could almost mistake the painting for a photograph, as the image appears so realistic, it would take flight right from the canvas.

Having participated in ArtPrize since 2011, you may have seen McClung’s “Birds of the Bible” and, “Spirit of Spring”, both featured at the Women’s City Club, curated by Fred Bivins. With an extensive resume of professional work that includes china patterns and posters, as well as a White House Christmas ornament, there is no doubt McClung has found her true calling – for the birds.

Catherine McClurg Birds at HAAC

Running through June 30, “Birds of the Bible” is located in the Lievense Gallery at the HAAC in Holland, Michigan.

For more information, contact the HAAC at (616) 396-3278 or online at hollandarts.org.

The Holland Area Arts Council
150 East 8th Street
Holland, Michigan 49423

Monday-Thursday  10AM-8PM
Friday                     10AM-5PM
Saturday                 10AM-3PM

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