My aim in painting has always been the most exact transcription possible of my most intimate sensations of birds in nature. I have tried to present my impressions in what is the most congenial and expressive form achievable from me. I have elected to study birds with brush and paint, attempting to force this often-unwilling medium of paint and ground, to record them. I recall two strong feelings since my childhood: a bond between birds and myself and desire for self-expression with my hands. These have never ceased to be united within my evolving vision and lifework as a painter of birds. I have a kinship with Man's first artists and America's lineage of Avian Artists, beginning with John James Audubon. Although my subject matter may appear to be strictly birds, I am as much influenced by the landscape as I am by the creature; the goal being for me is to effectively blend the two as Art and Science, which expresses natural beauty and educates others towards an intimacy with our natural world. I want to make visual poems about bird life with my creative powers. All my inspiration for painting is derived directly from nature, and it is to nature that I always return when seeking inspiration.
I was born in Connecticut in 1941. Living with my grandparents on their Trumbull farm in my formative years, I became enchanted with wild birds, nature and Biology. Visits to New York City, New Haven, and Boston Museums opened my mind to both Art and Natural History and I began to emulate what I saw represented there. I became acquainted with Roger Tory Peterson and gained many early skills in the field while attending his local bird walks.
I attended Oberlin College as a Zoology Major and continued my informal bird study with Prof. Em. Lynds Jones ,a pre-eminent field biologist at the college. It was here that I began my professional career as illustrator preparing the ink drawings from specimens for Prof. Warren F Walkers' ‘'Vertebrate Dissection , 3rd Ed. and ‘'Anatomy of the Cat''. At that time I also began to draw birds from the college collection, training my eye to the individual nuances of each species and clarifying my understanding the living bird in the field.
I returned to New Haven after college, and took a position at the Yale University Peabody Museum as assistant illustrator and began to paint seriously in my leisure hours. I learned to handle tempera, oils, and watercolors from various members of the museum artist staff who kindly guided me in my passion to learn. These men included Rudolf Freund,
(James) Perry Wilson, and master bird taxidermist David Parsons. I would often take my lunch watching Perry Wilson or Rudolf Zallinger working on a diorama or mural in the main halls of the museum. Perry Wilson's conversations helped direct my energies to plein-air landscape painting in oil and watercolor to train my eye toward seeing with my brush and to create bird sketches from life in the field. Robert Verity Clem would occasionally come by the bird range and severely critiqued my efforts, for which I will be eternally grateful.
In 1967, I was introduced to Don R. Eckelberry whose bird guides I had admired since childhood. Don encouraged me with demonstrations and lively discussions that gave me the courage to strike out on my own as a painter of birds. He has mentored many fine bird painters and illustrators and I feel deeply honored to have known him well.
Since then, my work has been featured in such books as ''Field Guide to North American Birds'' (National Geographic Society), ''Birds of the Ligonier Valley'' (Carnegie Museum) ,''The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding'', ''An Audubon Handbook ,Western/Eastern Birds'', and ''Book of North American Birds'' (Readers Digest Books) .
I have traveled to study birds in the United States, Central and South America, The Caribbean, Hawaii and most recently Japan. Ocean birds have always captured my interest and I have spent months on oceanographic scientific cruises in the New World.
In recent years, I have devoted myself to easel painting and completing commissions from international collectors. My works have been exhibited in numerous museums, and galleries including:- Kobe Museum- Sanda Japan; The Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History -Washington DC; Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum-Wausau WI ; Carnegie Museum -Pittsburgh PA; Moji Art Galley-Kitakyushu Japan; Royal Scottish Academy- Edinburgh (Birds in Art), Kirritappu Wetland Center, Hokkaido, Japan and the British Museum- London England.
I have always been drawn to the sea and the mountains. For the last 35 years, I have made my home in Western Oregon. After a visit to the Pacific Northwest in 1970 to study birds, I decided to settle in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. I think what I treasure most about Oregon is the accessibility to 'wildness', which for me evokes the sense of the ''primal'' or fundamental earth. There is enough subject matter in Oregon to keep me painting for many lifetimes.
2008 - Birder Magazine, Tokyo Japan June 2008
INTERVIEW with Utaka Godo, editorial staff of BIRDER Magazine, Tokyo June 2008 issue
Utaku Godo :- "Why do you interested in Cranes and Japan?"
Jon Janosik:- "I became aware of Japanese Art and Japanese Zen Buddhism in college. I was surprised that birds, plants and nature were common subjects of the artists in Japan and not separated as a special art form, as it is in the western art. Therefore, I became more interested in Japanese Culture throughout my life. I wanted to see and study all the Cranes of Japan for a long time but never had a chance to visit. I turned sixty years old on Rishiri Fuji in Hokkaido, finally reaching my dream of coming to Japan to study birds with my binoculars and brush.
Cranes express many human qualities, I feel, and they seem to excite my creative powers in some special way. It is very mysterious to me! Cranes and people have lived together for thousands of years, so it is natural that they become a subject for paintings,reminiscent of cave artists of long ago. Maybe I have a similar heart-mind as the artists of ancient times and attempt to express the mystery and beauty of Cranes life."
Godo-san)"Why do you paint birds and wildlife?"
"When I was a child I would often stay with my grandparents; they had a farm in New England(Connecticut). There was a lake, a forest surrounding the farm and plenty of wildlife . I became fascinated with all the birds there and started to draw them regularly. I was influenced by the paintings of Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Roger Tory Peterson and Don Eckelberry( who later became my teacher and mentor). Although I studied Zoology and Physiology at college, I discovered that I was more artist than scientist and began to follow path of painting. I illustrated my first book while still a student to pay my expenses and became known to many publishers.
I love birds and I want to share their life histories, their pure beauty, and their plight with the world audience. I want to make visual poems about bird life with my creative powers.
Painting and bird study is what I do and love the best. It is all I know how to do, or wish to do! So I think one should use natural abilities as one's livelihood in this life. I enjoy the challenge of making a painting from start to finish; expressing my visual interpretations of nature and birds with other people.
Futhermore, I learn so much about my human nature and my place in the natural world by studying the lives of birds. And since every Being is subject to Natural Law, I share much in common with fellow Beings....birds,animals, plants, rivers, mountains and not separate. Birds teach me about the Great Question of "Who am I, really?"
Godo-san) "Why do you like Japan?"
JJ) "I have come to like (and love) Japan by spending part of my life there. There is a very special feeling that I have while visiting... for this outsider. It is a paradoxical feeling that I cannot explain, accept to say it makes me happy! Everything seems to have it's own place in Japan.
I love the sound of the Japanese Language; it is very beautiful in all it's dialects to my ears; I learned ChaCha-ben dialect while living in Kyushu.
Japanese Traditional Architecture is a living record of history, practical and beautiful, at every new place I visited and lived. I love the home farmer's gardens...each one different; each one the same. Food is everywhere in Japan! Food is Art in Japan! Everyday food from those gardens and the local fish caught fresh daily gave me deep satisfaction, tastes unknown to me, and knowledge of regional cooking."
Godo-san) "What is the most fantastic nature and bird in Japan for you?"
JJ)" It is hard to choose one nature experience because there were so many wonderful moments of new-ness for these artist eyes. Often the most simple and quiet moments in Japan is what I remember most. My personality, by nature, is a little like a monk. I found a nest of Sankocho near Yuki-yama Mt. and spent a day studying their life. It was, to me, amazing!
There was a Hayabusa/Peregrine Falcon family roosting and teaching the young to hunt in a Do-Co-Mo tower above my house; I studied them almost everyday close-up for a whole Season. Yokatta!! The Cranes of Izumi was my most exciting time. Wow!
Godo-san) "Which area did you live in Japan?"
JJ) "I have lived briefly in Wakkanai-Do, Kansai(Kyoto and Hirakata) and Minami-kokura in Kyushu for 9 months. I lived in an old house in the village of Sone Shinden (Sone Higata). I did not know anyone living there, but I was soon adopted by the people of Shinden. I am so deeply grateful to everyone there who shared there daily life with me. I sketched and studied the birds that lived or migrated through Sone Higata estuary. I was invited to informally teach acrylic painting to some local artists.They could learn some English, as well as my painting style. The children followed me around, so I visited the local grade school to talk about drawing birds.
Some of bird species that I most enjoyed to study there were : -
Hayabusa, Chougenbou, Tsuru-shigi, Koshaku-shigi, Sorihashi-shigi, Tsubame-chidori, Sankocho and Herasagi. "
Godo-san) "What is the most important memory while you were in Japan?
JJ)"Sitting in an old Arashiyama temple, Uguisu-sama told me about new cherry blossoms appearing in the early morning mist."
Godo-san) "Please tell me your method to connect different culture and different mind? I think you have good experiences while you stayed in Japan."
JJ) "I just be myself when in Japan or anywhere...that is my method. I am always curious about cultural differences and similarities of people in general. When I visit Japan I do my best not to judge culture as better or worse than my culture....we are all doing the best that we can to live and survive in this world. I feel in my heart that each culture is unique, beautiful and deserves my understanding and respect."
Godo-san) "What is the target for the workshop in Hokkaido? And please give me some information for the readers who want to join."
JJ) "Perhaps, there are some people who wish to draw and paint birds, but do not know how to begin. I will try to help these new painters by showing my methods of drawing and painting using simple materials. Perhaps, there are some intermediate painters who want to gain a different perspective about painting birds. I will share my style of creating a bird painting. Perhaps, I will learn something more about bird art as practiced in Japan. I think every artist has his or her own inner way of expressing their ideas in various media. I can only show my working methods. I strongly encourage everyone not to copy me, but to find their own true direction and visual ideas. Together, we will explore the fun of making Bird Art."
Godo-san) "Please give me message for Japanese birdwatchers and young ages."
JJ) "If younger people study and watch the birds around them, they will be forever changed in the way they understand the natural world and to some extent the realm of people.
I cannot imagine a world without birds. How wondrous it is to see them around us, even in the city.
They bring joy with their songs and curiosity by seeing their colors and actions.
Please continue to help and conserve the habitats of birds that come within our lives. Help leave plenty of natural space for them to continue their future, as we live with them. Keep the rivers, lakes and oceans clean by not putting our waste into these waters, which we all need to survive and supplies life for so many species. Birds and fish are our "report card" of how Japan will be in the future. Please create an aware-ness in everyone's mind and heart that understands the natural world as a Commonwealth of All Beings.
And finally, if you want to find birds to watch.....follow the food chain."
Birder Editorial Office
Bun-ichi Sogo Shuppan
Kawakami Building, 2-5, Nishi-gokencho
Shinjuku, Tokyo Zip code 162-0812 //〃
Support for Conservation:
My personal goal now is to help support the lives and conservation of the birds which have supported my life. Cranes and Sea Birds are of particular interest to me and I am working in their behalf, both in the USA and Japan.
- 2013 - Birds of the world: Jon Janosik
Elsinore Gallery, Salem, Oregon December 2013
- 2008 - Exhibiton Kiritappu Wetland Center, Hokkaido, Japan June 2008
An exhibition of Bird Painting by American artist Jon Janosik June 1 to 28, 2008 at the Kiritappu and sponsered by the Kiritappu Wetland Trust, Hamanaka, Hokkaido. During the exhibition period workshops for adults and children were offered.
- 2008 - Birder Magazine, Tokyo Japan June 2008
An interview with Utaka Godo, editorial staff of Birding Magazine and published in the June 2008 issue.
- 2008 - Wild Bird Society of Japan NO.723 2008
Cover Painting and article :- Japanese Barn Swallows ( Onion Shed: Tsubame) for Wild Bird Society of Japan Magazine June 2008
- 2008 - Journal of Raptor Research Vol. 42 No.4 2008
Journal of Raptor Research cover art : Osprey Nest in Cordon, Baja
- 2008 - Exhibition: 2008 AOU Portland
Exhibition of Avian Art for the 125th anniversary of the American Ornithological Union in Portland, Oregon.
Artists exhibiting original works include: G. M. Sutton,Larry McQueen,
Doug Pratt, Guy Tudor, Eriko Kobayashi (Japan),
Michael DiGiorgio, Guy Tudor, Al Gilbert, Peter Mathios, Dale Dyer, Jon Janosik and others.
Prints by John J. Audubon, Louis A. Fuertes, Don Eckelberry and Roger T. Peterson.
- 2006 - Art Celebrates Birds:Featured Artist
Jon Janosik, internationally recognized bird and wildlife painter, exhibited a recent body of work at the Pegasus Gallery in Corvallis,Oregon throughout the month of October 2006.
- 2006 - Jon Janosik, Painter of Birds:Oregon Art Beat ,Episode 804
Episode 804: Thursday October 12, 2006 Oregon Public Broadcasting TV
Bird Painter Jon Janosik
After studying zoology, Jon Janosik devoted himself to painting birds, many of them vanishing species. His work is so true-to-life it's been used in National Geographic and Audubon Society field guides. A resident of Hubbard, Oregon, his work has been exhibited as far away as Japan and the British Museum.
- 2004 - Moji Gallery, Kitakyushu, Japan
Solo Exhibition, Moji Fine Art Gallery
- 2001 - Kobe Museum of Natural History , Japan
Sanda Hakubutsukan, Kobe Japan;Exhibition with Shoin Okamoto; Selected paintings and prints.
- 1990 - King Gallery, New York, NY
Reader's Digest ;Book of North American Birds contribitors; Original Color Plates
- 1987 - Easton Waterfowl Festival. Easton MD.
- 1986 - Easton Waterfowl Festival. Easton MD.
- 1984 - State Museum of Louisiana:Art From the Wild
Worlds Fair Exhibit
- 1982 - British Museum of Natural History
Birds in Art
- 1982 - Royal Scottich Academy
Birds in Art
- 1981 - Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Birds in Art Annual Exhibition
- 1981 - Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Birds in Art
- 1981 - Smithsonian Institution: National Museum of Natural History
''Two Contemporary Bird Painters for Oregon Territory'', Jon Janosik and Larry McQueen; 48 Paintings in the Rotunda
- 1981 - Nature Interpreted: Cincinnati Museum of Natural History
Judge and exhibitor
- 1980 - Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Birds in Art Annual Exhibition
- 1980 - Retrospective Exhibit:Salem Public Library
Years in the Pacific Northwest
- 1980 - Milwaukee Public Art Museum
3 Paintings; Group Exhibit
- 1977 - Los angeles County Museum, Los Angeles CA.
Solo Exhibit, 30 works
- 1970 - Louisiana State University
Solo Exhibit; Eighteen Tempera and Watercolors;McIlhenny Collection
- 1969 - Houston Museum of Natural History
Solo Exhibit; Twelve Endemic Mexican Birds
- M.Graham Netting Collection
Several works on Panel and paper
- Household International Corp.
2 Oil Paintings:- Jaegers and Tern; Sage Grouse Dancing at Dawn. Corporate Collection
- Salem Public Library, Art Collection
14 Portraits and Paintings of Oregon Birds
- Lousiana State University Library;McIlenney Collection
3 paintings on Panel and Paper
- Lewis Rems
Bird Plates for Field Guide to North American Birds,NGS
- Mr. and Mrs. William Wessinger
Shorebird Plates for Book of North American Birds
- Dr. & Mrs. Whitney Tope MD
Various commissioned works on Panel and Paper
- Kenneth C. Parks Private Collection (Carnegie Museum of Natural History)
Plates of Inter-generic and Inter-specific Hybrid North American Wood Warblers
- Edgar Kincaid (University of Texas)
Paintings of Mexican Endemic birds
- B. Mark Fried,
7 Color Plates of Shorebirds:- Field Guide to North American Birds, NGS
- Richard Kleen Collection
Sons Of The Sea; Black-footed Albatross. A Panel
- Fred Ramsey Collection, Bird Art of the World
Various commissioned and acquired Paintings 1975 to 2005
- Corvallis Public Library Art Collection
- Sally Trachsel
Various works on panel, canvas and paper
- Mrs. Darrell Mendenhall
Various oils on canvas and prints on paper
- Tim Fex Collection
Bird Plates from Book of North american Birds, Reader's Digest Books; Watercolors of World Birds
- Seiyu Corp., Japan
3 Commisioned Oil Paintings of American Birds
- The Backyard Birdsong Guide-A Guide to Listening for Eastern and Central North America (2007)
Illustrator - A listerning Guide to Eastern and Central North America with full page color illustrations by Jon Janosik and Larry McQueen.Chronicle Books, $24.95, 192 pages. Author Donald Kroodsma, a visiting fellow at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology
Author: Donald Kroodsma
Published by: Chronicle Books
- The Backyard Birdsong Guide-A Guide to Listening for Western North America (2007)
Illustrator - A listerning Guide to Eastern and Central North America with full page color illustrations by Jon Janosik and Larry McQueen. Chronicle Books, $24.95, 192 pages. Author Donald Kroodsma, a visiting fellow at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.
Author: Donald Kroodsma
Published by: Chronicle Books
- ''A Brush With Nature'' (2005)
More about ''A Brush With Nature''
Illustration:- Dancing Japaese Red-crowned Cranes accompanying Richard Mabey's article on Cranes. See:-Tanchou Mandala on this website. - ''Something about cranes affects us deeply. Perhaps it's their mix of awkwardness and elegance that reflects both our frailty and hopefulness.'' Richard Mabey
Author: Richard Mabey
Published by: BBC Wildlife Magazine,Vol.23, no.8;August 2005;page 13
- Book of North American Birds. (1990)
Contributor/various plates -
Published by: Reader's Digest Books
- Four Promotional Stamps. The Nature Conservancy (1987)
Commisioned Plates for Stamps - 4 Stamps-Peregrine Falcon;Northern Oriole;Sandhill Cranes;Harlequin Ducks
Published by: The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA
- 1986 Finding Birds, West, East. Audubon Society Guide, McGraw-Hill (1986)
Contributor; Flight drawings -
Author: John Farrand, Jr,
Published by: Audubon Society
- Master Guide to Birding. in 3 Vol. (1983)
Species/Plumage Plates - Extensive 3 Volumn Field Guide to North American Birds
Author: John Farrand, Jr, Editor
Published by: Audubon Society. Chanticleer Press
- National Geographic Society: Field Guide to North American Birds. (1983)
In 1st and 2nd Edition;Pages 19-23, 39-47, 103, 107-111, 121 - Various bird group plates.
Published by: National Geographic Society.
- Birds of the Ligonier Valley (1976)
6 Color Plates - Descriptions of birds occuring in the Ligonier Valley adjacent
to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Author: Robert C. Leberman
Published by: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA
- Encyclopedia Britannica. Fifteenth Edition. (1973)
16 Color Plates - Colored Illustrations to various Bird Name entries
Published by: Encyclopedia Britannica
- Notes from the Beebe Room (1972)
Cover plate and essay with 5 color paintings within the text - An essay article regarding my bird studies and painting at the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad, West Indies.
Author: Jon Janosik
Published by: The Florida Naturalist Magazine
- From South of the Border: The Kiskadee Flycatcher (1970)
- 1 portrait and article about the Kiskadee Flycatcher's life history.
Author: Jon Janosik
Published by: The Louisiana Conservationist, July 1972
- Study of the Cat (1967)
8 Drawings of musculature of the cat -
Author: Warren F. Walker
Published by: Saunders Co.,Philadelphia
- The Fetal Pig (1964)
Anatomical drawings in various media - A maunual of Fetal Pig dissections
Author: Warren F. Walker
Published by: Freeman Co., San Francisco
- Vertebrate Dissection,Third Edition (1963)
40 halftones and pen drawings - Anatomical drawings in various media of vertebrate dissections
Author: Warren F. Walker
Published by: Saunders. Co., Philadelphia