The newly renovated Ronald and Christina Gidwitz Hall of Birds in The Field Museum features one of the most comprehensive and spectacular displays of birds in the world. Within Bird Hall, the Artist’s Corner has an impressive collection of original artwork from the likes of John James Audubon and Louis Agassiz Fuertes. You will also find paintings by internationally acclaimed watercolorist, Peggy Macnamara, the artist-in-residence at The Field Museum.
There are two paintings done by Macnamara that were inspired by photographs taken by Arlene Koziol in Boca Grande, “Egrets & Pelicans” and “Feeding Frenzy.”
View More images >>Koziol is a resident of Chicago suburbs that has been vacationing in Boca Grande for over 20 years. She volunteers in the Bird Lab in the Department of Zoology in Chicago’s Field Museum, where she met artist Peggy Macnamara.
The beginning of this story starts on a cold winter day in December, 2004 with Sandy Melvin, a friend of Koziol’s who is a fishing guide and the owner of Gasparilla Outfitters in Boca Grande. Gasparilla Sound is a shallow body of water year round. In the winter months, when there is a full moon, there is a higher than average spring tide. The gravitational pull of the moon lines up with the lesser gravitational pull of the sun. Pair this with high winds out of the northwest, and there are some of the lowest tides of the year. Fish in the back bays get stranded in the deeper parts of the bay.
“Running into Sandy at his shop, I recall him saying something to the effect of, ‘I’m going to show you a wildlife spectacle right here in Boca Grande. No need to travel to Africa. there is high drama and wildlife action right here in the bay!’” Koziol said. “I decided to take his word for it. Heading out that cold, windy day, we were the only boat out in Gasparilla Sound. Sandy has a Kevlar skiff with an extremely shallow draft.
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