Biologist Kim Middleton’s art shown at “Birds in Art” exhibit

  • Tue Dec 2nd, 2008 8:00am
  • Life
Kim Middleton with “Harpy Eagle.”

Kim Middleton with “Harpy Eagle.”

Local artist Kim Middleton of Orcas Island was jury-selected to exhibit her work, “Harpy Eagle,” in the prestigious 2008 Birds in Art exhibition at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisc. The show ran from Sept. 6 through Nov. 9.

Middleton was one of 114 applicants selected out of 606 international contestants. According to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s website, the Birds in Art show has taken place every fall since 1976 and sets the standard for avian art around the world.

Middleton states her work with Harpy Eagles at The Peregrine Fund in Idaho and doing field research in Panama inspired this painting. She says her technique incorporates thin layers of transparent oil paint glazes built up to create depth and richness of color. From a distance, the painting exhibits a homogenous neutral gray color, but upon close inspection one can see the individual colored layers.

Trained and educated as a biologist and chemist, Middleton only recently delved into extending her love of the bird world to the canvas through formal art study.

“The complexity of the avian world amazes me,” she said. “Their detailed feather patterns, savagery of nest site competition, devotion to their young, unique adaptations and behaviors are inspirations for my art.”

Her artwork reveals this extensive understanding achieved only from working closely with birds all her life. Middleton says she has picked careers that placed her directly within wingspan of birds of all kinds.

She has rescued, rehabilitated and trained birds of prey and corvids for public programs; cared for a variety of birds in captive collections; conducted avian field research; taught ornithology and environmental education; as well as guided birding trips.

Middleton states that working closely with birds has allowed her to study their behavior, anatomy and physiology, and individual personalities, which gives her art a fresh interpretation to the avian world.

“My intent is to spark the viewer’s interest in birds through compelling compositions, evoked emotions and emphasizing particular attributes,” Middleton states.

To see more of her art, go to