Tuning In

Categories: 2023 March-April Issue, Beck, Kimberly, Oil, Oil and gold leaf, and Wildlife.

Oil painter Kimberly Beck kicks off most workdays with a three-mile walk. “There’s a reservoir near our house and, if I get up early, I can get there and back and still get to work on time,” she says. “You see all kinds of birds there. You start to learn the regulars of the neighborhood.

“Last summer, I caught Cooper’s hawks mating. The female was gathering all these twigs, and I figured out where the nest was. For the rest of the spring, I was able to observe the nest, until the male started charging me. I think he literally recognized my camera—’Here comes the person with the black dot on her front, and I’m to charge her because she’s too near my nest!'”

Being attuned to the goings-on in the lives, and even the inner thoughts, of local birds is second nature to Beck. She has been interested in birds since she was a child and has been drawing and painting them throughout her career. She traces her earliest interest in birds to a poem written by her grandmother.

Read the full article in the March/April 2023 issue.

Date Night

Oil and gold leaf
12″ by 12″

“Birds such as tanagers are insect eaters, and one of their distinctive postures is tilting their heads to find food. I imagined that the best ‘Date Night’ for a pair of Western tanagers would certainly include a good meal!”


14″ by 18″

“On a trip to the Bear River Migratory Refuge in Utah, I was mesmerized by a group of yellow-headed blackbirds as they struggled to navigate a relentless wind. It was my first time watching their head-sweeping gestures as they call to one another and maintain balance amidst swaying cattails. In this painting, I sought to capture their graceful, rhythmic movements and replicate the intensity and range of yellows for which they are named. The light value of the background emphasizes the graphic nature and movement of the grasses.”