Work of the Week — “Blue Jay” by Sallie Middleton

Monday, February 26, 2018

by Sadie Allen

Whether you realize it or not, nature rarely experiences true silence. Every time you venture out into the woods, you’re likely to hear a chirp or a whistle from one of our delightful feathered friends – birds! I never realized just how common they were until I began to look for them. As soon as I honed in my focus, I noticed them everywhere – on telephone poles, sidewalks, even sunbathing in my yard. Lately I have been especially keen on the creatures, as they’ve been much more vocal with the arrival of some warm weather. My father dabbled in ornithology in his younger years, so he instilled a passion of the animals within me. This particular piece, Blue Jay, caught my eye not only for its focus (a stunning Blue Jay, as the name implies) but also the incredible detail and colors. Sallie Middleton’s talent is evident in the vividness of the piece.

Middleton’s art highlights her incredible love for nature, as she continues to illustrate and paint many endangered species from around Western North Carolina. She sells her paintings locally and online for a broader audience. Her detailed pieces focus on not only the fauna of our region but also the fauna, as shown in this piece. This shows just how interconnected nature is and how dependent the animals are on the vegetation. Her work paints a great appreciation for the beauty and wonders of our region and Mother Nature as a whole.
If you look closely at this piece, you really begin to realize the full scope of detail she puts in. Every single blade of grass and mushroom breathes life into her piece and illustrates perfectly why we need to protect our Earth. These vibrant prints will continue to emphasize the importance of conservancy and remind bird lovers like me of nature’s beauty.

Artwork above: Sallie Middleton, Blue Jay, Watercolor, 20.25 x 16.25 inches. Gift of Sallie Middleton Parker. Permanent Collection. 2012.12.22.