Bunny Love

March 30th, 2009

350 - snowshoe hare

I always think of snowshoe hares when I hear the sports guys on the radio talking about “March madness” because this is their mating season (the hares, not the sports guys!)

And believe it or not, hares get pretty crazy. There’s leaping and cross-peeing and all kinds of lagomorph lunacy. I wrote a “Something Wild” spot about them once. It had the best alliteration I have ever used (to date) in describing how the males impress the females with “boisterous bouts of bunny boxing.” They do actually stand up on their hind legs and trade jabs with their front paws.

So I have arrived at the Vermont Studio Center where I am beginning a one month painting residency. I am one of 50 artists who have won fellowships to do nothing but work on their art. It’s totally awesome — the food is great, my studio is big and bright, and everyone I’ve met so far is really wonderful. I love talking about painting over dinner.

(Not that my husband doesn’t indulge me and let me yammer on about my work, but it is different when you have a room full of people who are all painters, sculptors, and writers.)

I’ll try to add some pictures when the sun comes out — hopefully tomorrow. Mud season in Vermont isn’t terribly picturesque but it does make you want to stay inside and paint!

Cuddly Kitten Day?

March 23rd, 2009

I actually heard on the radio that today — it is “Cuddly Kitten Day” and also, “Cute Puppy Day.” But since I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, I thought I’d post two wild cats for you. The Canada lynx, on the left, is from a beautiful animal I met during a wildlife art workshop I took in Montana two years ago and the bobcat is from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center here in New Hampshire. Not sure these qualify as “cuddly” or “kittens” but that’s OK!

Less than a week until I leave for the Vermont Studio Center! Thanks for all your good wishes of support and encouragement…

On a roll now

March 15th, 2009
Red Fox - 2 of 350

Red Fox - 2 of 350

It’s been a good week — the painting is going faster than I expected. Still figuring out the intricacies of blogging. There are many bells and whistles I can add if I ever find the time to. But since this is mostly about my painting, I am uploading a red fox today. I like the way this guy came out. He has panache.

So I did write down my list for the first 100 mammals. The only problem is after I do all the “charismatic mega-fauna” as we called them in grad school, all that’s left are bats, rodents, and whales. As in 250 bats, rodents, and whales. Not sure what to do about that. Part of my goal here is to raise money, and I’m no so sure that a northern water shrew, for example, is going to be such a hot ticket, no matter how well I paint it!

I’m open to suggestions…

First painting — whoo hoo!

March 10th, 2009
Moose 350

Or should I say mooo– hooo? So after looking at the long list of North American mammals, I decided to start with those closest to home. This moose was actually the second one I did. The first is a black bear but he is being shy and wants me to tweak him a little bit more. It feels good to have actually started painting! Coming next: Red fox, gray fox, coyote, bobcat, cougar, and lynx…

Moose: 1 of 350

350 Begins!

March 2nd, 2009

Whew — this makes it all real, I guess — in a virtual sort of way. Today I start painting the first of what will eventually become 350 portraits of North American wildlife.

The idea is to show how much is at stake in our efforts to combat global climate change. I figure a wall of 350 wild animals staring back at us, the humans in charge, has a chance to make a dent. I chose to focus on North American animals because (a) that’s where I live and (b) we are using the most stuff on this planet and having the biggest impact.

So what gave me this crazy idea? Well, I was inspired by Bill McKibben and his organization 350.org to do something symbolic but meaningful to raise awareness about this important effort. We need to get our CO2 emmissions back down to 350, from where we are at aroun 387 or so. Being a wildlife painter, it wasn’t a huge leap to think 350 paintings. Of wildlife. Of course!

(It did occur to me, at first, to get 350 artists to each do one painting, but the coordination that would have required would have taken me away from my own painting. And being selfish and maybe a tiny bit of a control freak, I decided it will be easier to do myself. We’ll see!)

So I plan to post my images as they come along, so please check back often. I have lots of ideas on how this is all going to roll out, but first I have to get some paint down on some canvases.

Thanks for your interest and support!

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