Amir Balaban

Wild Artist, April 2014

It’s all about a passion for birds and wildlife. It started while trying to describe warblers into my childhood notebook. Words seemed inadequate. How does one describe the jizz of a juvenile autumn Ruppell’s warbler? Trying to visually describe birds led to a growing number of sketches  and confidence with a pencil. During the late 1970’s photography was not an option. The quick field sketch was a pretty good way to observe and learn the birding trade

It was not till my early 20’s when I stumbled by coincidence on Keith Brockie’s, inspiring book, one man’s Island. This was a pure example of how far and further field work can go

I spent most of my artistic education in Jerusalem’s Bezalel’s Photography department spending time in the field working on large and medium format stills and sketching birds

And to date this is what I do; I use art to promote wildlife and bird conservation in Israel

For the last 20 years work for the Society for the protection of nature in Israel (SPNI). Together with one of my best birding mates Gidon Perlman and a dedicated group of birders we established Israel’s first community urban wildlife site. The Jerusalem Bird observatory (JBO) with its ringing station, hide and gallery is a dream come true. A place to study birds, enjoy good company and wildlife art

Jerusalem Bird Observatory

Jerusalem Bird Observatory

The JBO ringing and training programme

The JBO ringing and training programme

 

The Beracha Foundation bird hide

The Beracha Foundation bird hide

 

The Gail Rubin wildlife art gallery

The Gail Rubin wildlife art gallery.

Looking back, it becomes clear that I have become addicted to observing nature and birds in particular. It’s becoming clear to me the sketching started as a tool of understanding and today has become a mean of sharing an experience. When I published my first book; The Golan Sketchbook most of the work was an accurate description of birds, mammals and plants I encountered in a 6 month Journey from the Alpine peaks of Mount Hermon to the steamy Jordan River

Pallid Harrier Golan Heights

Pallid Harrier Golan Heights

 

Today, my camera and especially video are used to document wildlife and birds with relative ease. The material is edited and loaded with much ease to the web and is ready for mass consumption on national TV or any conservation issue

Stork Migration

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkr6jHYHzOQ

Although my most of my videos have a specific conservation purpose, many are experimental and view wildlife in a different perspective. The ability to mix visual and audio tracks enables to recreate magical and complex moment and birdscapes

Mating Ostrich

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az6NEbKyVr0

Daddy long legs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwhkKTzAqhU

My Pencil and aquarelle are now used for capturing those moments where the camera no longer matters. This has led me down a very interesting new trail. I think it has unchained me from the consuming need for detail.  This spring, visitors to the JBO can view my work in our gallery

Hoopoe Lark southern Arava Valley

Hoopoe Lark southern Arava Valley

Houbara Bustard display, Nizzana

Houbara Bustard display, Nizzana

Black-shouldered Kite, first recorded fledging, Hula Valley

Black-shouldered Kite, first recorded fledging, Hula Valley

 

White Pelicans resting on migration Hula Valley

White Pelicans resting on migration Hula Valley

Working on the field

Working on the field

 

art gallery

 

One of the most rewarding activities is the wildlife sketching workshops that are held regularly. Everyone can sketch! It’s true. Not always easy, but it’s very rewarding indeed

Wildlife sketching workshop

Wildlife sketching workshop

The JBO Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jerusalem-Bird-Observatory/236657824436?fref=ts

The Gail Rubin wildlife art Gallery: https://www.facebook.com/wildlifeartjerusalem?ref=hl

Amir Balaban artist page: https://www.facebook.com/wildaboutnature?ref=hl

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel!: https://www.youtube.com/user/amirbalaban

Chinstrap Penguin, The Antarctic Peninsula

Chinstrap Penguin, The Antarctic Peninsula

 

 

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