A note to our readers who may have a problem with homonyms: The Autobahn is a famous, high-speed roadway in Germany; John James Audubon was a world-renowned painter and naturalist, best known for his book The Birds of America. In that classic work, Audubon was said to have painted a portrait of every bird known in the United States during his time.
This weekend you can join Richard Sandhaus of the Discovery Editions publishing company for a talk on Audubon's paintings of wetland birds and how the ways in which society views the natural world have changed. Picture a crisp, sunny October day on the Ashley River, for example. The faint sound of flapping wings draws your attention skyward as a magnificent blue heron glides gracefully overhead. Within seconds, your smart phone is in hand, your thumb glued to the faithful recording button as the built-in camera captures the heron's every move. Ten minutes later, your extensive footage is uploaded to YouTube, available for all to see. Now rewind to October 1831, when John James Audubon first stepped foot in Charleston. He, too, experienced the wonder of the exotic birds of the Southeastern wetlands, only his way of sharing what he saw with the world was a little different. "The idea is to get people thinking about how the different technology we have available today affects the way we use our eyes," Sandhaus says. In his days, Audubon had to focus on every detail and paint the bird feather by feather.
The lecture will also delve into the details of Audubon's exact pencil and watercolor strategies, encouraging the audience to look carefully and observe each and every stroke.
Sandhaus will have an authentic Audubon print or two with him. "It will be a sort of time-travel experience back to 1831," Sandhaus, says "without the 3-D Avatar glasses."