Afternoon at B.D. White
The following post is from Preserved! artist Justin Kellner. You can see more of his work at justinkellner.com. Learn more about the Preserved! art program here.
My intention going into Preserved! this year was to focus exclusively on the Prairie Warbler, a species with niche habitat requirements that can be found at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. But, a lucky spot at one of my favorite Land Conservancy properties, Bradford Dickinson White Nature Preserve, was too good to pass up. This quiet trail is perfect for a quick day hike and covers diverse terrains from pine-covered hills to wetlands.
My wife and I love taking our son to run on the trails and dip his feet in the creek. While the woods tend to be a bit more quiet in the fall, since most birds have moved on or are currently migrating, you can occasionally get lucky and catch a cluster of warblers, chickadees, and nuthatches passing through. The creek is a favorite spot of mine, and I usually get a few good views of birds along this area. This time, we were excited to spot a yellow throated vireo, and I was able to snap a few reference photos for a future painting.
While out in the woods I gather all my reference materials for all of my paintings, and half of the fun is getting out and looking for birds. In the fall, the plumage changes, making identifying species more of a challenge, and I still have one warbler-sized bird on my camera from this visit that remains a mystery.
We capped off our visit with a stop at Heidi’s Farm Stand for a donut. Couldn’t ask for a better afternoon!
Justin’s artwork, along with the work of 12 other artists, will be displayed and available for sale this fall at two different galleries in West Michigan. Tickets to our Grand Rapids Gallery Opening on November 1st are on sale now!
“My wife and I love taking our son to run on the trails and dip his feet in the creek.”
Reading this line alone almost brought happy tears to my eyes. Bradford Dickinson White was my Papa and when my brother and I were little we loved hiking on “the tree farm”, having picnics among the pines that our Dado (great-grandfather) planted, and walking on the log bridge we built with Papa over the creek (no longer there). Now I am 32 and those are some of my favorite childhood memories. It’s so wonderful to know other families are getting so much joy in that place as we did!
Your painting is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your art and your experience.