Joshua Ludke: Birding Artist


4th grader’s last Wisconsin art project of the school year is studying local artist and art teacher Joshua Ludke. It’s great to learn about a local artist because he’s available for us to ask him questions! Here is his artist statement:

One Hundred Birds of Wisconsin: wood relief and paintings by Joshua Ludke

I have a passion for “finding” images. To me, the world is a place that shows itself to those who look with an open mind and heart. There is beauty everywhere, eve, and sometimes especially, in what some would discard.  Once things are discarded, they are free to become something new. As an Artist I can’t help but hear the call of discarded objects to be transformed.

The series started with the wood. I have been a collector of interesting bits that I find in my travels and walks. I found much of the wood for these paintings this way. Whenever I see scraps of wood on the side of the road my mind always races with the possibilities for carving and painting. I thank my wife for her toleration of me bringing home these many random armloads of strange materials.

I found bird forms in the wood I collected. Wings, feathers and beaks leaped out of the wood grain and asked to be painted and sometimes carved. In the first dozen so pieces, I painted some imagined birds along with some real bird species. The more I painted, the more appreciation and longing I had to see the real birds and so I started researching and decided I would take on the task of painting all of the birds who live in or visit our state. I spread the wood pieces all around my studio and tried to figure out which bird species’ structure, color and personality fit the particular block of wood.

I hope my little flock finds places to nest and brings with them the spirit of mystery and wonder that they have brought to me in discovering and creating them.


Joshua is a fellow art teacher in Madison and teaches at Orchard Ridge Elementary as a patient, passionate and innovative teacher. I’m so excited that he was able to share his art with us. It is wonderful to have REAL ART to study in our classroom instead of prints or photos on the computer.

I hope you enjoy his work as much as we have in our Randall Art Room!



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2 thoughts on “Joshua Ludke: Birding Artist

  1. Wow! Thanks for posting this beautiful blog entry! I’m very excited to show my work at your school!

    Let me know if anyone has questions. I can either answer them here, or through email, or perhaps send over a carrier pigeon with a message.

  2. Pingback: 4th gr Wisconsin Birds | O'Keeffe's Backyard

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