Janet Luxton – ‘Feather and Brush, A History of Australian Bird Art’ by Penny Olsen

In News May 8, 2022

Janet Luxton  Orange bellied parrot  2016  oil on linen  120 x 156 cm


Congratulations to artist Janet Luxton who is one of 158 artists featured in the second edition of Feather and Brush, A History of Australian Bird Art by Penny Olsen.


Feather and Brush accounts for the history of bird art in Australia, it explores the transition from traditional engravings to European ornithological drawings to contemporary approaches at capturing the unique array of Australian wildlife.

In this second edition, along with revised chapters and new artists features, the rich history of Australian bird art is represented across four hundred images depicting an abundance of styles and techniques.

Featured in the second edition is Sydney based artist Janet Luxton.  She began her career as a drafts person and graphic designer in Auckland during the 1970’s, before moving to San Francisco where she studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute.  Throughout her practice she always came back to birds, in 1989 she returned to Australia.

The bird life in our region was extraordinarily abundant, ranging from tiny wrens to majestic eagles.  We also lived with a large community of parrots and cockatoos.  Once we had the studio up and running I was able to spend a delightful ten years etching and painting the locals.  It was a great privilege to live surrounded by so much fascinating wildlife.

Painting with deft technical skill and sensitivity, Janet Luxton’s exquisite paintings capture the magnificence and diversity of the creatures of the natural world. More than realist interpretations of wildlife, each meticulous brushstroke by Luxton reveals the animal’s distinct character, as well as the artist’s deep respect and connection to each being she portrays. By working on a large scale, Luxton’s paintings not only reinforce the beauty and importance of the natural world, but they force the audience to contemplate our role and responsibility in protecting wildlife in all its forms.

For the past decade my paintings have been an attempt to portray the individuality and beautiful diversity of birds and other animals caught up in our increasingly turbulent and fraught times.


Janet Luxton  Boobook owl  2018  oil on Belgian linen  165 x 125 cm


Penny Olsen   Feather and Brush, A History of Australian Bird Art  2022