The father-son team of Sean and Brendan Murtha will be the next guests on BirdCallsRadio. Sean is a wildlife artist and Brendan is the vice president of the Connecticut Young Birders Club.
The Murthas, who live in Norwalk, Conn., go out birdwatching together at local patches as well as not-so-near destinations such as the Dry Tortugas and Great Gull Island. Tune in to hear how they share their love of the outdoors with each other. Getting youngsters involved in the outdoors is a big part of BirdCallsRadio and this show promises to offer ideas on how to do that.
Sean is also a well-known artist and his website — seanmurthaart.com — features several of his works. He has a particular interest in Long Island Sound, along whose shores he was born.
Sean has been interested in art since he was a child and eventually settled into the two areas of painting that would remain a lifelong interest: landscape and wildlife. He studied painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, graduating in 1990. Between 1996 and 2006 he was employed at the American Museum of Natural History, where he was able to mix his love of painting with his interest in nature to produce over a dozen dioramas. It was there that he became devoted to the practice of painting in plein air, or directly from nature. He is currently employed at the Bruce Museum of Art and Science in Greenwich, CT, and continues to create dioramas on a freelance basis, most recently for Earthplace in Westport and the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, N.Y.
Sean is a member of the Connecticut Plein air Painters Society as well as the Society of Animal Artists, Artists For Conservation, the Lyme Art Association and the Rowayton Art Association. He has exhibited at Windham Fine Arts in Windham NY, The Blauvelt Museum in Oradell NJ, The Cape May Bird Observatory Gallery in Cape May NJ, the Bennington Arts Center in Bennington Vermont, the Greene Art Gallery in Guilford CT, and the prestigious Birds in Art at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau WI.
In 2011 he was honored with an “Award of Excellence” by both the Artists for Conservation and the Society of Animal Artists.
In his own words: “My primary goal is to capture what excites me about experience with nature. It is a basic human need to find solace in the natural world, and this is the wellspring of my art. As a naturalist it is important to me to be faithful to weather, environment and species, but as an artist I strive for a spontaneous and poetic approach, an emotional reverence for the surfaces and spaces of the real world.”
Brendan was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1999, and moved to Norwalk, CT a year later. From a very early age he loved nature and animals, pouring over books till he had them memorized. He grew up visiting his father Sean at the American Museum of Natural History where he worked, getting to know the dioramas intimately and getting to know artists and naturalists as household names. Nature walks and travel were also a big part of his upbringing.
Brendan, inspired by his father and other naturalists, has focused on birds since age 7. Steve Quinn and Joyce Cloughly of the AMNH, and Margaret Ardwin and Jim Hunter of Earthplace in Westport, also helped get him interested in nature. His ability to absorb information from books allowed him to increase his field skills rapidly.
In 2010, he joined up with other young birders in the area to form the “Connecticut Young Birder’s Club”, of which he is currently vice president. He is also a member of the New York Young Birders Club, recently serving as the team leader of the “Vagrants” one of their “World Series of Birding” teams. He is also on the Junior Staff at “Earthplace”, volunteers at the Bruce Museum’s Seaside Nature Center at Greenwich Point, and has volunteered at the “Great Gull Island Research Center” where he trapped and banded Common Terns.
Other interests for Brendan include drumming, being part of several school bands and being invited into the Brien McMahaon High School Marching Band.
This promises to be a lively and informative show. Tune in from 1 to 2 p.m. this Sunday (Sept. 2) on 1490 WGCH in southwestern Connecticut and nearby Westchester County, N.Y., and “Listen Live” at http://www.birdcallsradio.com worldwide.