When I was a kid I was fascinated by wildlife, it’s a passion that has lived on and I’m as curious today as I ever was. As was normal back then I collected anything and everything – from eggs to skulls (including a human one from the grave yard until it was discovered and I was made to take it back). It wasn’t just dead stuff either; in those post-war days batteries were replacing those old accumulators that needed regular charging and the heavy glass containers in various sizes made wonderful aquariums, vivariums and many other ariums! My bedroom was full of them. I had a wonderful ant-farm until they escaped and re-housed themselves behind the skirting boards – I lied to my mother! Then there were newts, some of which also escaped and turned up mummified in any number of unexpected and shock-inducing places.
Audubon – naturalist, hunter, backwoodsman, acute observer and brilliant artist
Anyway, I digress. It was about that time that I saw my first ever pictures by John James Audubon. I didn’t know that’s what they were, but once seen they are never forgotten. They were in one of those folio type books in the reference section of my local library – the librarian had realised my fascination with wildlife and was kind enough to get the book down and let me sit in that normally child-proof section and browse to my heart’s content.
From time to time over the years there have been occasions when fine-art books and prints of Audubon’s work have come to my attention but I have always baulked at the asking prices. Then, a short while ago J, who also likes his stuff very much, had a brilliant idea – why not ask our dear friend and artist Gülay Çolak if she could come up with some studies ‘in the style of’ as they say. So we did, and she did!
Aren’t they wonderful? I did think of asking her to paint over her own name and substitute that of the master himself but then I thought, ‘Hang on a minute, one day this lady . . .’
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü
ps Gülay takes commissions and they don’t cost the earth! (contact me via social media for help)