THE LEGACY BEHIND THE SUTTON AWARD

George Miksch Sutton (1898-1982) is one of the most prominent ornithologists and bird artists of the 21st century. His fascination with birds began at a young age. As a boy, he began collecting bird feathers, eggs and nests and kept extensive notes about the birds he observed. By age 16, his first bird drawing, as well as several of his articles had been published. When Dr. Sutton arrived in Norman in the spring of 1952 to begin work at The University of Oklahoma, he was already an acclaimed artist, writer, explorer and teacher. His passionate interest in ornithology and the natural sciences led him on several expeditions in the continental US as well as the Arctic north, Mexico and South America. By the time of his death in 1982, he had written 13 books, over 200 scientific journal articles and illustrated at least 18 books.

Although he was trained in the sciences, he felt equally at home in the arts and is revered by bird lovers everywhere for his beautiful paintings. He was a master with pen and ink and watercolor, preferring to paint birds from real life. His painstaking illustrations of a beak, a foot, or the underside of a wing were unmatched. Sutton was one of the first ornithologists to study and illustrate baby bird development.

“AS AN ARTIST, George Sutton will be ranked with Audubon and Fuertes as one of the great American painters of bird life; as a man, he will be held in even greater esteem by all who came within his orbit. His influence, profound and pivotal, upon generations of aspiring artists resulted in what has been called the “Fuertes Sutton Tradition” in American bird painting. I shall always remember “Doc” with love, not only as a brilliant artist and teacher, but more importantly as a modest, thoughtful, and generous friend and gentleman.” –A1 Gilbert

We are proud to continue the memory of George Sutton and grateful for the ongoing financial support and partnership with NatureWorks that makes the Sutton Award possible. Educating and inspiring young people to appreciate the beauty of diversity as well as learn to tell a conservation story that will inspire others to preserve it aids both the Sutton Center and NatureWorks, Inc. in our central missions of protecting the natural world for the next generation.

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