Sep 25, 2007

Endangered Species in Art: Leopards

A lot of artists paint endangered species, not just to preserve the image of a beautiful creature that might one day soon no longer exist, but to help raise awarenes of the urgent need to try to prevent its extinction. It's not surprising considering whatever love of nature it is that motivates them to paint also makes them concerned about their art subjects. Here are some artists who are painting not just to create beautiful images but also to try and help save the animals in these images. Many of these artists not only paint to raise awareness of the animal's plight but also to raise money for organizations that help protect them. So next time you consider buying a piece of wildlife art considering buying from one of the artists out there who is doing his or her part to help save a species. Here are just a few examples. There are so many species endanged, unfortunately, that I'm only focusing on one group today, the endangered leopards.

Brenda Johnson - 10% of sales of this print go to the Snow Leopard Trust

For more artwork devoted to endangered species conservation visit the endangered species art section of the Artists for Conservation web site.

Sep 19, 2007

Save a Deer, Shoot a Hunter! (Part 2)

(For Part 1 click here.)

Do you hate hunters and hunting? Does the idea of some slack-jawed neanderthal of a redneck/hick/hillbilly blowing the brains out of Bambi send you into a rage?

Hunting season is here and your jerk of a neighbor just loaded up his 4-wheeler with guns, bows, knives, and a 12-pack, heading off to the woods to end the lives of poor innocent creatures!

Can you believe that idiot?!

And, while steam is still coming out of your ears, do you sit down and think about the letter you're going to write to your congressman to ban hunting while you chow down on your plump juicy steak (or chicken or pork roast) dinner?

Damn hypocrite!

Yes, you!

What are you thinking, cursing hunters for shooting a deer while you eat the flesh of a cow? Are cows less worthy of life than a deer?!

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not a vegan, or even a pescatarian. I don't believe humans were designed/evolved to live without eating animal protein. I actually tried vegetarianism for a while myself and my memory went down the tubes in hurry (which was really bad since I was in college at the time and my grades went to from a B+ average to more like a C). Yikes!

Besides myself, I personally have known several vegeterians, none of whom were healthy or even sane. That's not to say there aren't healthy and sane vegetarians out there. I just haven't personally known any so my experience with vegeterianism hasn't been a positive one.

Ok, so let me get back to the point.

I have met many people like you, who curse the idea of hunters and hunting while thinking it is perfectly fine to eat farm-raised beef, pork, and chicken. Heck, I was that way myself once. After all, that's what the cows and chickens are raised for, right? While ruthless hunters are just blowing the brains out of innocent animals for kicks, a gun in one hand and a beer in the other, laughing all the while, right?

Yeah, ok, if that's what you believe.

But actually hunters, at least the ones who eat what they kill, are doing less harm to animals and the environment than you are.

Wtf, you say!?

Yeah, really. Stop and think about it.

The most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane is animal agriculture or "factory-farming." According to

Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled.

Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. And this source is on the rise: global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past fifty years, and shows little sign of abating. About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock, and while a single cow releases a relatively small amount of methane, the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock animals worldwide is enormous.

So, you see, hunters who eat deer instead of factory-farmed cattle are doing more good for the environment than you are.

I know what you're thinking: "But, deers crap and fart too! Don't they release methane as well?"

Well, deer farts maybe. I don't really know. But not deer crap. Part of the problem with factory-farmed cattle is that there are millions of cattle all crammed together in pens (and if you've ever driven through central CA you'll know what I'm talking about) where waste accumulates in large quantities. In nature, deer crap is scattered sparsely throughout the woods. This gives it a chance to dry out rapidly and return to dust that nurishes the soil. In these factory-farm pens of cattle there is no room to scatter the waste sparsely, allowing it to dry. It accumulates knee-deep and rots, releasing huge amounts of methane in the process. Not only is this bad for the environment but the cows are probably miserable wallowing knee-deep in their own waste, too.

Which brings me to my second point. What about the lives of the animals you're eating? Which is worse off, the deer that roamed free and lived a natural life until the day a hunter's bullet took it down? Or the cow that was born wallowing in cow crap, living its entire short life crammed so tightly with other cattle it never had room to move or even lie down? This isn't just killing, as a hunter does to a deer. This is life-long torture. And the same goes for the way chickens and pigs are factory-farmed.

So next time you sit down to eat your meat-filled meal, think about the poor factory-farmed animals. If you can go vegan (and stay healthy and sane) then great! If not, I understand. But try to at least buy free-range meat, poultry, and eggs whenever you can.

And while you're eating your free-range chicken dinner, try not to hate your neighbor-hunter who's eating venison next door. That deer probably lived a happier, healthier, more natural life than your farmed chicken ever knew.

(For more information on factory farming and what you can do to help stop the cruelty visit and

Sep 13, 2007

Upcoming Shows and Exhibitions

Since my last post was about wildlife art shows I decided to look around and see what else is coming up in the near future for your wildlife art viewing pleasure. I realize not all of you can get to Port Townsand, WA to visit David Kitler at the Fort Worden show so let's see what else there is that might be closer to your neck of the woods. I'll just cover Sept and Oct for now.

Sept 8-Nov 11
Birds in Art Exhibit
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Wausau, WI

Sept 14-Oct 7
American Plains Artists 23rd Annual Exhibit
Loch Vale Fine Art
Estes Park, CO

Sept 15-16
North Georgia Wildlife Arts Festival and Outdoor Expo
Downtown City Park
Blue Ridge, GA

Sept 22-23
New England Wildlife Art Show
Earthplace Nature Discovery Center
Westport, CT

Sept 29-30
Maine Woodcarvers Association and Wildlife Artists Show
Augusta Armory
Augusta, ME

Oct 5-6
Bill Worrell and Barbara Westwood Annual Fall Show
Exposures International Gallery
Sedona, AZ

October 5-7
Wild Wings Fall Festival Original Art Show and Sale
City Hall
Lake City, MN

Oct 5-14
Georgia National Fair Wildfowl and Wood Carving Competiton Exhibit
GA National Fairgrounds
Perry, GA

Oct 12-14
17th Annual Reflections of Nature Wildlife Art Competition, Show and Sale
Saskatoon Prairieland Park
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Oct 19-21
Wildlife Art Show and Sale
Civic Center Plaza
San Dimas, CA

Oct 19-21
26th Annual Southern Wildlife Festival
John C. Calhoun College
Decatur, AL

Oct 20, 2007 – February 17, 2008
47th Annual Society of Animal Artists Exhibition
The Wildlife Experience
Parker, CO

Oct 27-28
15th Annual Woodcarving and Wildlife Art Show
East Berlin Area Community Center
East Berlin, PA

I'm sure there are many more shows and exhibitions going on out there so if you know of some not listed here add it to the Comments section here. Thanks!

Sep 8, 2007

David Kitler at Fort Worden Wildlife Art Expo

Wildlife artist David Kitler has been a busy man. This year's activities include participating in several art festivals and expos, giving demonstrations and workshops, a presentation at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, and completing his first instructional DVD on drawing techniques. And somewhere in there he still finds time to paint!

One of the expos he's attending this year is the Fort Worden Wildlife and Nature Art Expo in Port Townsdend, WA. I had the pleasure of meeting the artist at this same expo last year. He's very friendly, eager to meet people and answer any questions you may have. This year the event takes place Oct 5-7 so if you're in the area on those dates I' highly recommend you stop by and say hi to David. There will be lots of other great artists there too. For more info visit the Wildlife Art Expo site.

Sep 4, 2007

New Wildlife Expedition Journal Online!

New wildlife expedition journal online for your viewing pleasure!
Not mine, though.
The journal I'm referring to is that of wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering about her trip to "The Land of the Thunder Dragon" to explore the nature reserves of Bhutan through the Flag Expeditions Program sponsored by Artists for Conservation.
I wish I had a new wildlife expedition journal of my own to talk about.
Well, in a way, no.
After reading her journal I have to admire her for what she went through on her journey. It sounds like it was pretty rough at times! But I'm glad she was willing to endure it to share her experience with us. Her journal contains over 200 pages of beautiful drawings and photos as well as fascinating notes about her trip! I highly recommend taking a look:

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