For many people, birds are easy to overlook—they are everywhere, after all. But as any avid bird-watcher will tell you, take the time to carefully observe these winged creatures and you’ll likely be in awe.
The same can be said about viewing the gorgeous bird illustrations of Stuart resident Jordan Silvia. Using colored pencil, she creates lifelike images of beautiful birds, as well as mammals, plant life, and insects, and her artwork invites viewers to pause and reflect on the natural world around them. “I’ve always been interested in art and studied art in college,” says Silvia, who holds a master’s degree in art education from the University of Florida and is now an art teacher at Jensen Beach High School. “At the beginning of the COVID quarantine, I set out to do the ‘100-day project,’ an internet challenge that encouraged participants to do anything for 100 days in a row. I was struggling to come up with an idea and thought, ‘Let me just draw birds.’ And I really fell in love with them.”
Three years later, Silvia continues to focus on nature illustrations with the hope of someday having her work published in academic journals and other educational materials. She frequently showcases her art at local galleries, art shows, and at The Creek District’s Friday Art Walks.
The current secretary of the Audubon of Martin County’s board of directors, she finds inspiration at Stuart’s Possum Long Nature Center, where the Audubon office is located. “We have acres of preserves that are open to the public,” Silvia says. “There are woodpeckers, songbirds, wading birds, and all kinds of osprey. Jonathan Dickinson State Park is another great place for birding. You can see the Florida scrub jay there, which is a species that only exists in Florida.”
Silvia frequently participates in Audubon’s “Keeping a Nature & Wildlife Journal,” a free workshop that inspires creativity and nature appreciation (more on this in “One with Nature” below) and plans to lead a bird-illustration workshop with the group in April. “Because of my role at the Audubon, my interest in birds has grown even more,” she says. “Now I’m known as a crazy bird lady.”