Costin, like many contemporary nature artists, creates stand-alone prints. “I want the science right when I do the piece,” he said. “But I also see it as fine art.” Costin’s primary medium is etching, which was developed during the 1500s as an alternative image-making process for artists. Costin uses one to five copper plates that are individually hand-wiped with several colors of ink to create an image on paper. Each piece is meticulously hand-colored, giving the birds a much more lifelike appearance. The result is an intricately detailed print, which takes months to create. No computers or photography are ever used, and editions range from one to 250, with no two pieces the same.
From pelicans and hawks to spoonbills and roadrunners, Costin’s etchings capture the beauty and diversity of the avian world. Twilight Current, a standout piece, is a large watercolor that features illuminated wood storks around a mangrove tree against a dark red background. Costin was inspired to create the work while contemplating how the contemporary climate has and will continue to alter the natural ecosystems birds inhabit.