Monday, September 21, 2009

Woodson Art Museum & Birds In Art 2009

Boy where does the time go? I can't believe how fast last week went by. Now that bowhunting season has opened again, my free time has become even more limited. So before any more time goes by, I figured I'd better finish telling you about my and Lynne's last day in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Late Saturday afternoon, we drove over to the Woodson Art Museum just to make sure we were able to find it for the next day. It's a beautiful place, smack-dab in the middle of an historic residential neighborhood. We were able to do a quick run-through of the Birds in Art exhibit for the final 15 minutes the museum was open that day. Lots of good stuff there and we couldn't wait for Sunday when we'd have more time to enjoy the exhibit.

Sunday dawned sunny and warm once again. Our plan was to check out of the motel early and head over to the Woodson museum by around 11:00. Lynne had gotten in touch with Julie Z. via Facebook on Saturday night, so we planned to meet her at the museum around noon and spend some time with her before she was scheduled to speak at 1:00.

(Don't forget -- you can click on any of these pictures to enlarge them!)

The Woodson Art Museum is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens with lots of trees and even some wildlife. I spotted this cute little red squirrel having a snack.

The gardens also contained a variety of beautiful bronze sculptures. I'm sure most of you have probably seen that e-mail that contains pictures of horses a woman in California makes with driftwood? That's exactly what this horse sculpture looked like. We weren't supposed to touch the sculptures, but this one got the best of me.......I had to tap it with my finger to confirm that it really was bronze and not driftwood.
I liked this sculpture of a pair of wolves.

This fountain of a little child holding ducklings was pretty cute. If you look close at the base the child's standing on, you will see there are ducks there too.

I loved this towering sculpture of cranes. You can't tell from this picture but it was probably about 15 feet tall.

Close to the museum entrance was this sculpture of wood ducks. It reminded Lynne and me of some of the wood ducks we had seen during our Birders Who Blog, Tweet and Chirp outing a few weeks ago.

My favorite was this sculpture of wild turkeys. If I was rich, I would like a sculpture like this in my front yard!

Here's Lynne and me with Julie. What a warm welcome she gave us. It was fun to have a few minutes of her time as she gave us the "artist's tour" of the Birds in Art exhibit. It was really neat to hear some of the stories about her artist friends and their work. Julie's original art works were on display too, so she also shared some stories about her own art with us. We really enjoyed hearing her speak and seeing all her wonderful pictures. It's one thing to see and read the stories on her blog, but hearing her speak in person was really cool. She even gave us special recognition for coming to see her, knowing full well that Chet Baker would not be in attendance!
You can read Julie's blog posts about the Birds in Art 2009 exhibit at this link.

The museum didn't allow cameras into the exhibit hall, but we were able to purchase a beautifully printed catalog of all the artwork displayed in this year's exhibit. Because I'm no artist and can barely draw a stick man, I have a true admiration of artistic talent--especially my favorite theme, birds and wildlife. In closing, I want to share a few of my favorite pieces from the 2009 Birds in Art exhibit.

This is a bronze sculpture! I loved it especially since I once saw a pair of ring-necked pheasants fighting like this on the edge of a soybean field.

Late January Afternoon
Even though Cindy created this painting from turkeys spotted in her New Hampshire backyard, I've enjoyed seeing this same scene with real turkeys during a southeastern Minnesota winter.

Sowing Seeds
You're going to think I'm nuts, but I've let some of these thistle plants grow in my backyard for goldfinches and butterflies (the flowers are a favorite nectar source of tiger swallowtail butterflies). This scene looked so real I almost expected to see the goldfinch fly right out of it!

The Red, Red Robin
I first saw this large block of wood and when I walked around to the front, realized it depicted a corner of a gravestone with a robin perched on top--all carved of wood!

Mountain High
These beautiful mountain bluebirds are carved from basswood and the juniper branch they're perched on is made of metal. This was the most amazing sculpture I've ever seen and the detail was unbelievable.

After working in an art gallery for several years, I acquired a much greater appreciation for art. During that time I was fortunate enough to meet Thomas Kinkade and see some of his original works of art. Limited edition prints are wonderful and my house is full of them, but there's really nothing like seeing an original work of art up close.

The 2009 Birds in Art Exhibit will be touring the United States until January of 2011. Shown below is a listing of future dates and venues for this exhibit. If you see that the exhibit is coming anywhere near you, I urge you to take some time and go see it.....I guarantee you won't be disappointed.


KGMom said...

Sounds like a perfect day--with friends, with art.

Heather said...

Looks like you had a lovely time, Ruthie. That horse sculpture is something else! Glad you and Lynne got to meet JZ - isn't she so kind? I wonder how many people she's had her picture taken with just in the last 2 weeks?!
Good luck with bowhunting!

Gaelyn said...

Everything about this place is amazing. I really like the outside storm sculpture. And the wood carved bluebirds looks so real. It can be hard not to touch the art. I see it will be in Tuscon, but I'll be back to work by then. Excellent post and captures. What a fun last day in Wisconsin.

Mama Pea said...

So much beauty to behold. Thanks for sharing.

Jayne said...

Some of those creations are simply stunning to see, and remarkable in their craftsmanship! The talent it takes to do that is inspiring. So glad you all got to spend some time with Julie and enjoy the exhibit so much Ruthie.

Kathy Foley said...

Thanks so much for the fabulous recap and impressions of your visit to the Woodson Art Museum, the 2009 Birds in Art exhibition, and Julie's exhibition and program. We greatly appreciate your enthusiasm and encouragement to others to check out all that we offer at the Woodson. By the way, Deborah Butterfield is the extraordinary sculptor who has focused on horses since the 1970s. Check out images of her work at:

Also, keep up to date with Woodson Art Museum exhibitions and programs via our web site at and also by subscribing to our blog, "Woodson Wanderings," at

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am glad you took time out of your busy schedule to show us some of what you got to see in the Museum. WOW is all I have to say about it. Marvelous sculptures etc.

Heidi said...

Nice art! I notice the schedule you posted shows the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum next summer. If I'm there then, might be a reason to head down to Tucson. I've been to the museum before and it's cool. Last time though, I had a film camera, lol!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Donna,
Perfect day & perfect weekend!

Thanks Heather. You're right about poor Julie -- she's had a pretty hectic schedule lately. But we were grateful for the time she was able to spend with us.

Hi Gaelyn,
It was VERY hard not to touch the art! On so many of those pictures I had my glasses up on top of my head and my face about 3 inches away from the picture! I just love being able to see the brush strokes and detail on these pieces.

You're welcome Mama Pea, glad you enjoyed it.

Oh Jayne, you would have loved the exhibit too. So many beautiful pictures. Remember that phoebe picture Julie painted a couple summers ago (the one with the broken window and the phoebe in the barn)? She had that original there too. So much talent!

Thanks for your kind words Kathy. If I'd known you would read this post, I wouldn't have admitted to touching the sculpture! :-o
Thanks for the link to your blog (I became a fan of the museum today on Facebook too!)

Glad you enjoyed it Lisa. Getting this post ready was more fun and less messy than picking grapes off the stems for jelly (that's on my list for tomorrow!)

Hi Heidi,
I hope you get a chance to see the exhibit. Film camera, eh? You must have still been in middle school then!

Penelope said...

I love the art, but my favorite is the little red squirrel looking as if it's playing the flute.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Penny. At first I thought the squirrel had a pretzel stick, but I think it's just the end of a pine tree branch, don't you think?

Stephen said...

I'm ashamed to admit that I'd been completely unaware of the Woodson Art Museum and of all the magnificent artworks contained within.
Thank you for posting of this wonderfilled museum. It is definitely on my list of places to visit next time I'm in the Wausau area.

Cindie U. said...

Love, love, love the robin on the gravestone--what talent.

Good pic of you, Julie & Lynn. Now I have faces to go with the names!