The St. James Court Art Show Unveils New Print Series, “A Sense of Place”
The St. James Court Art Show has selected Mark Bird, renowned watercolor artist and nephew of St. James Court Art Show founder, Malcolm Bird, to create the new print series, “A Sense of Place: A Collection of Fine Art Prints”.
The print series will feature the highest-quality giclee fine art reproductions in signed and numbered editions of 100 prints. These reproductions will be printed on 100% cotton rag archival paper, using pigmented inks which offer lightfastness up to 75 years. Each print will also receive an original pencil remarque by the artist to assure its authenticity. Stephen W. Brown will contributie his original research into Old Louisville and St. James Court history by writing about the subject of each year’s edition. Each print in this collection will be released on an annual basis for a period of ten years.
Prints will be available to purchase at the 2019 St. James Court Art Show for $200. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order for a print and coordinate payment. Specific print numbers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The original watercolor art piece has been sold to an anonymous collector.
“Saturday morning coffee at 1418 St. James Court”
As the subject of the first print in the collection “A Sense of Place”, the duPont cottage holds perhaps more history than any other home on St. James Court.
My history with the cottage was established through my introduction to Ethel B. duPont by my uncle, Malcolm Bird. Malcolm, who lived at 1436 St. James Court, and Ethel, formed a bond which would last for the rest of their lives.
Ethel B. duPont was the granddaughter of Antoine Bidermann duPont. The duPont family heirs sold their Central Park property to the City of Louisville in 1904. There were several buildings on the family estate, among which was the little frame cottage, known generally as a “gardener’s cottage.”
This cottage was relocated to its present site after the duPont family bought lots on St. James Court, and was situated at the rear of the present lot near the alley. In time, the great expanse of front yard became overgrown with foliage and trees. This then, was how I had always remembered Ethel’s home: a tangle of brush and scrubby undergrowth at the street, with a masterfully manicured inner garden nearest the cottage. And it was the dichotomy of these two modes of gardening that inspired me to paint this scene in the manner you see before you.
Ethel duPont was a gardener extraordinaire. Her papers were bequeathed to the Filson Historical Society and in my research of them, I discovered her correspondence with a seed company in Chicago, IL. She had requested seeds of countless perennials to add to her “…garden of cut and potted flowers…”
From this list, I set about painting this scene of the ultimate urban garden with all of the flowers she had imagined. It was a great art adventure, painting flowers I hoped she would have planted, having designed her wish list so as to have color throughout the growing season.
In her papers, there were careful notes regarding the paint colors used on her cottage, which I of course, referenced to bring my dream alive.
Malcolm and Ethel drank strong coffee, lots of strong coffee. As a matter of fact, Malcolm always told me of his love for strong coffee after years of sharing a cup with Ethel on her front porch. There they would solve the world’s problems, and closer to home, would imagine how to raise awareness of the then derelict St. James Court. It was on this porch, that these two people eventually arrived at the idea of holding an outdoor art show, after having several financially unsuccessful outdoor dramatic performances to raise funds. In those early, formative days of the preservation of St. James Court, Malcolm traveled to Europe with his friends Bob Smith and Jim Perry. It was in the Portobello area of London, over many cups of coffee, where the idea of the St. James Court Art Show was given wings.
A cup of coffee never tasted so good.
It is the highest honor as an artist to be allowed to capture this sense of place, knowing that it was an inspiring location from which the preservation of this neighborhood was born.
Mark D. Bird
Mark D. Bird, NWS has enjoyed a professional career of over forty years as a distinguished architectural illustrator and designer, working with many of the world’s foremost architects and designers. Additionally, Mr. Bird has produced commemorative edition artworks for public and private events, businesses, agencies and a multitude of other clientele. His works hang in private and corporate collections around the globe. In 2017, he began the next chapter of his life as a fine artist, focusing on the art of architecture. He travels the world in search of inspiring, architecturally significant subjects and records his visions through his skillful style and inherent senses of emotion and interpretation. Mark is the recipient of many awards , including but not limited to: 2019 American Watercolor Society 152nd Annual International Exhibition for “Via Rosina, Florence, Italy”, 2018 National Watercolor Society 98th International Open Exhibition for “Sunrise in Montepulciano, Italy”, 2018 National Watercolor Society Signature Membership, the BoldBrush Painting Competition, August 2018 for Outstanding Watercolor , “ Via Dei Montanini, Siena, Italy”. Mark also was the “Winner, Overall Best, 21st Annual Show Poster Contest”, Sunshine Artist Magazine, cover painting “St. James Court Art Show 2016.” To learn more about Mark Bird visit markdbird.com, follow him on Facebook.com/markdbirdfineart and on Instagram at @markdbird.nws.
The 2019 St. James Court Art Show will welcome thousands of art to historic Old Louisville on October 4, 5 & 6.