Red Deer artist and illustrator Jeff Powers has a solo show at the Marjorie Wood Gallery in the Kerry Wood Nature Centre that visitors are flocking to.
Called Ornithurae – Dinosaurs In Your Backyard, the exhibit features paintings, drawings and prints of birds that can be found across North America.
The project grew out of a love for dinosaurs, he said.
“I started to learn more about the connection between dinosaurs and birds and so it evolved into a study of looking at birds as the dinosaurs that we have in our backyard,” he explained. “You can go out and see that natural history right in front of you which gets overlooked, but they are quite fascinating little creatures.”
When Powers found out he was offered his own exhibit at the nature centre, he spent four months working on the art. His artwork is in a variety of forms, such as pen and ink drawings, digital paintings and an acrylic on canvas.
The birds are those he has observed in his own backyard as well as his travels.
“The Ospreys on the bridge are a mating pair that I like to visit,” he said. “They are just outside the town of Banff. They nest every year on this little bridge, so you can go see them every year.”
A striking print of a pair of Ravens were the birds Powers and his wife, Megan, discovered while visiting Banff.
“My wife and I took a photo of these Ravens in the middle of a blizzard just huddled together,” he said. “It’s a moody, very cold, wintry painting. Ravens mate for life and so that was their little pair bond.”
As a freelance illustrator, writer and poet, Powers runs his studio Jeff Powers Illustration out of his home in Red Deer. He has earned a bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Lethbridge.
He added, “If you like birds, like nature, and want to learn a little bit about some of the creatures, a lot of them can be found right here around the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, come check it out.”
Waskasoo Environmental Education Society Executive Director Todd Nivens said Powers’ work ‘ticked a lot of boxes’ when it came to what they look for in an artist to exhibit.
“It’s a really neat tie into the paleontological story, through the title of the exhibit and the way he views birds,” Nivens said.
“Then you add in the technology of how he actually accomplishes some of this – no photo-shopping, no pre-drawing lines – he is starting right from a digital platform. (He is) really pushing the ideas that art and art production is evolving.”
The organization offers exhibits that last for about six weeks to Alberta artists, focusing particularly on artists in Red Deer and Central Alberta.
Ornithurae – Dinosaurs In Your Backyard is open now and runs until Dec. 21st at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre.