John James Audubon added a birder’s interest to an artist’s perfectionism and created bird guides and prints that made viewers feel as if they were seeing the subjects right in nature.
But his love of birds was like that of a person who “loves humanity” but is indifferent to individual suffering.
In creating his sketches and paintings, Audubon refused to use stuffed models because he maintained that dead birds lose their coloring quickly.
Instead, he used real birds that had been freshly killed and wired into natural-looking poses.
To keep his models fresh, he shot new birds by the dozen per painting, as many as a hundred per day.
Audubon based his paintings on his extensive field observations.