Growing up and living in the Midwest has made me look at and appreciate the more commonplace. I’ve been on safari in Africa, explored the Everglades, experienced the animals and landscape of the West. But when I look out my studio window, I don’t see lions, alligators, a prairie full of bison or a majestic mountain range. I see chickadees and chipmunks.
Mark Eberhard has sketched and photographed animals in Kenya and all over the United States. But most days, he doesn’t have to venture beyond his back yard to find inspiration. In fact, sometimes he doesn’t even have to leave the house.
This spring a cardinal built her nest right on the other side of his living room window. In winter, dozens of cardinals and mourning doves show up at the feeder outside his studio. A barred owl and her fledglings spent a week hanging out in the driveway. A pair of Cooper’s hawks took up residence in the backyard. And each morning, three or four rabbits wait patiently for a handful of cracked corn and sunflower seeds for breakfast.
It’s Eberhard’s ability to capture common things with uncommon grace and detail that’s earned him a place as one of America’s best wildlife painters – particularly when it comes to birds.
His grandparents gave him his first birdbook at age 5. A lifelong passion was sparked. “I was interested in art as far back as I can remember.” He earned a bachelors degree in graphic design from the University of Cincinnati and an MFA from Yale. He credits that training with guiding his work today.
Eberhard has won numerous awards and has been the featured artist in a number of shows. His work is included in both private and public collections throughout the world, including the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole WY and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau WI. In 2010, the National Museum of Wildlife Art honored him with an exhibition inspired by his painting “On the Edge,” a statement on the plight of birds on the edge of extinction. He was the featured painter in their annual show in 2013.
“I feel the paintings are already out there in the universe. I have simply been given the ability to see them.”
“I hope people enjoy looking at my paintings. I want them to see the beauty and humanity in nature that I see. A bare tree branch can be just as beautiful and moving as a Grand Canyon vista. I hope people will slow down and take time to not just see the trees in the forest but the leaves on the trees.”