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Artforthebirds.com

NELSON HAMMER, ARTIST

Summer, 2014. Walking through a Michaels arts and crafts store with my wife and two granddaughters, I visited the fine art supplies department and noticed a Winsor & Newton Watercolor set for sale. I hadn't painted in watercolors for 50 years, but decided, on a whim, to buy the set. That's the media side of the story. Now, for the subject matter....


While surfing the web looking for subjects to paint, I came across images of birds whose coloring was otherworldly. I picked one, then another, and before long I had documented (somewhat primitively, after a 50-year  hiatus) seven species: a Painted Bunting, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Blue Jay, Crested Crane, American Goldfinch, European Bee Eater and Lilac Breasted Roller. It was at that point I realized how much I enjoyed interpreting the beauty of bird anatomy. But it was also at this point I found out that if I create and profit from "derivative images" (i.e., copies) of published work, I could be liable to copyright infringement. I could paint whatever I saw on the web; I just couldn't sell it without getting the permission from the photographer (or more specifically, the owner of the copyright). Not all web photos are copyrighted, but I wasn't going to take any chances.‚Äč Enter Brenda Robert...


My daughter Ali lives in New Orleans with her husband, Chris. Chris' mom, Brenda Robert, just coincidentally happens to be an extremely talented wildlife photographer who lives  in Lacombe, LA, across Lake Ponchartrain from Ali and Chris. Brenda graciously offered to provide me with subject matter for my work without fee, and ever since then, I have been the fortunate recipient of many of her splendid images used to create  much of the art on this website. As I have advised friends and family of my interest in painting , many of them have also contributed wonderful photos to serve as subject matter, and I have gotten into the act as photographer as well as artist.


In October of 2017, I was given permission by professional wildlife photographer Glenn Bartley  of Vancouver to interpret his photo of a Varied Thrush, which was the cover photo of the 2017 National Audubon Society calendar. I hope will be the first of many paintings I base on his beautiful photographs; but unless specifically indicated, all the paintings displayed on the website are based on photographs provided to me by Brenda Robert. Images provided to other photographers and me will be credited individually.

why am I the birdman?