Archive for wildlife

In Progress Work by Amanda

Posted in Art, Design, Drawing, Personal History, Red Fox, Soul Food, wild creatures, Woodblock Printing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2016 by WanderArtist

Drawings submitted for consideration in the Yellowstone: Color It Wild book published by Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone Association. The bison and animal tracks images were used in the book.

Select drawings & sketches from the past few months…

Beautiful Bighorn Canyon NRA

Posted in Art, Artist Residency, Drawing, flora and fauna, historic sites, Inspiring People, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, National Parks, Personal History, Soul Food, Wanderings, wild creatures, Woodblock Printing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2016 by WanderArtist

One awesome benefit of being awarded artist residencies in national parks is discovering and falling in love with new places! This recently happened to us at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in Montana/Wyoming. We stayed at historic Ewing-Snell Ranch about twenty miles north of the Park Visitor Center in Lovell, WY. There are numerous visually and historically interesting structures at Bighorn, with Ewing-Snell being the one continually inhabited until most recently. Many of the ranch buildings have been lovingly restored over the last 30 years. Until this past autumn Ewing-Snell was the only one still used as a residence by the park service and it was provided to us as part of the artist residency. Sadly, the ranch burned to the ground on December 9, 2015. We feel very fortunate to have stayed at this wonderfully restored historic building, and we are extremely sad that it is gone.

With my parents, who were visiting from Lincoln, Nebraska, we had the amazing experience of watching the supermoon eclipse from the porch of Ewing-Snell Ranch. Since no street lights were visible in any direction we enjoyed a clear and open view of the moon as it put on an amazing show, rising heavenward over the vast expanse of park land. It is truly a memory we will cherish for the rest of our lives. In light of the burning to the ground of the ranch merely weeks later, we had only an inkling of how truly lucky we were to be there at that moment in time.

Ewing-Snell porch

Ewing-Snell porch

Over the course of our two week stay at Bighorn I worked on a woodblock print representing one perspective of the park. It was not an easy place to narrow down to merely one image simple enough for a woodblock print… So many interesting cabins, canyons, horses, bighorn sheep, mountains and vast panoramic vistas! We visited all of the historic ranches, and saw many of the wild horses that live in the canyon and the Pryor Mountains that flank the western edge of the park… we wandered up into the Bighorn Mountains on the eastern edge of the park where we witnessed the ranchers herding their livestock down the mountain from summer grazing on Forest Service lands. We also had the humbling experience of spending several hours transfixed by the amazingly tangible energy at an ancient power spot called Medicine Wheel. Bighorn Canyon and its surrounding area is a very magical and humbling place. Stay tuned for a future posting about this amazing place.

Lockhart Ranch and its owner, Caroline Lockhart, held my attention early in our visit. Lockhart was probably the talk of the town (small as it was) when she bought land and began ranching in the Dryhead region (now part of Bighorn Canyon NRA). One of the quotes from this city slicker and author/newspaper owner about living there was “My job is writing books and the last thing I had in mind when I came to the Dryhead was filing on land or engaging in the cattle business, and certainly not locating in a country where a fresh track in the main-travelled road is an event.” Though likely scandalous to some she never married, and she surely enjoyed being the person in charge – of her ranch and of her own destiny.

Lockhart apparently never planned to own a ranch but bought L/♥ (her brand) in 1926 when the owner defaulted on a loan she had made to him. The ranch was then just 160 acres but she expanded it to over 6,000 by 1952 when she finally decided to make Cody, Wyoming her permanent home. She raised cattle, kept a lover at times, wrote books and made an excellent living on the ranch. Truly an inspiration for the liberated woman!

As part of my Find Your Park Through Art weekend at Bighorn Canyon a handful of artists joined together to offer workshops and to hike, paint, photograph and draw together in some of the interesting sites in the park. I met some lifelong friends while working together to create a fun and informative weekend for participants. Painter Stephanie Rose led a workshop at Ewing-Snell on plein air painting, and Photographer Marilyn Feather led a sunrise trip to photograph the canyon with other participants. Both were full of energy, freely dispensing tips and sharing knowledge of their subjects, and were truly a pleasure to work with. Marilyn even shared Ewing-Snell with us for about four nights, dodging the local black bear and enjoying the comforts of a wonderfully remote home base.

I led a group into Hillsboro Ranch to draw, photograph and paint on the final morning of the Find Your Park Through Art weekend. Although my Bighorn woodblock print depicts a building at Lockhart Ranch, Hillsboro wound up being a favorite place, mainly for the variety of interesting structures, but also because of the stories of mountain lions seen in the canyon. When our group arrived at the ranch we soon discovered a domestic cat that had somehow made its way to this remote spot and was very happy for our attention. When we left Hillsboro that day one of the group members, realizing that the kitty could easily end up as a cougar snack, decided to adopt her and a few of us happily took turns carrying her out to the trailhead. We were all relieved to get her away from the wild creatures! Blackpaw now leads a happy life with as much food and love as any cat could hope for!

After our day at Hillsboro we returned to Ewing-Snell where I did a demonstration of woodblock printing for an inquisitive group. As I said, we fell in love with Bighorn Canyon and the surrounding mountains, and we hope to return and explore for a longer time in the future. I only regret that we will not be able to stay at Ewing-Snell Ranch again. This blog post is dedicated to the park staff who spent many hours lovingly restoring all of the buildings at Bighorn. We all appreciate your efforts and expertise, and we too were very sad to learn of the demise of this special historic gem.

How Good To Be Safe…

Posted in Adirondacks, flora and fauna, Inspiring People, Local Roaming, Soul Food, Wanderings with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by WanderArtist

There is a gem in the Adirondacks… an awesome group of people caring for vulnerable, mending or broken wild creatures. I made a visit to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge last week and will here post some photos of a few of their residents. It was a difficult place to get the photographs I wanted since every creature is caged, but I hope it will motivate some of you to visit and to donate funds to this wonderful organization.

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From the facebook page, “Adirondack Wildlife is a rehabilitation and education organization, whose mission is to take in, rehabilitate and, whenever possible, to return to the wild, injured or otherwise disabled wildlife, working with local veterinarians and volunteers.

In addition, we run educational programs and presentations, primarily working with non-releasable birds of prey and wolves, to foster compassion, tolerance and understanding of wildlife, particularly with respect to safely interacting with wildlife, and understanding the valuable role predators play in the over-all health of our eco-system. The three aspects of the educational role are: maintaining a mile–long, guided, interpretive trail at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center, and conducting interactive presentations at the Center, and at public venues, such as schools, colleges, fairs and churches.

We have no Federal, State or Local Funding, and are completely funded by donations, which are gratefully accepted.”

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When you visit the refuge you are likely to meet Wendy and Steve Hall, or their son Alex. They are knowledgeable, dedicated guides and educators. Above Wendy holds a hawk that she was preparing to take to a school for an educational presentation.

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Sylvia the Bald Eagle

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a very relaxed Red Fox

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American Kestrel

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Dakota, a Western Coyote at the Wildlife Refuge… although I would love to think he was interested in me, I know he was looking behind me and drooling over chickens and guinea hens wandering in the yard.

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A beautiful, restless creature

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Shaun photographed this lovely, hissing Great Horned Owl! Steve told us that the owl is perhaps the most perfect hunting machine ever designed… And, according to wikipedia, “owls were already present as a distinct lineage some 60–57 million years ago, and, hence, possibly also some 5 million years earlier, at the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.”

Also at the refuge are Zeebie, a wolf, and Cree, a wolf hybrid. You can go on a one mile walk around the refuge with Steve, Alex and the two wolves every day but Tuesday and Wednesday (when they are closed to the public) starting around 10 or 10:30am. There are many more birds, foxes and wild creatures to see on your visit. Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehabilitation Center is located in Wilmington, New York http://adirondackwildlife.org/, visit their facebook page, or click here to make a donation.

The clouds their backs together laid,
The north begun to push,
The forests galloped till they fell,
The lightning skipped like mice;
The thunder crumbled like a stuff —
How good to be safe in tombs,
Where nature’s temper cannot reach,
Nor vengeance ever comes!

~ Emily Dickinson ‘Refuge’

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