Apr 8 2012

#344 “Perspectives”

From a stranger in Chicago, Illinois

One of the first things that struck me about this illustration was the fact it offers a dual depiction of its lupine subject: there is the straightforward bust in the top portion of the illustration as well as the wolf profile at the bottom of the page. This dichotomy of artistic perspectives naturally led me back to the polarity of views concerning the wolf itself. It is a creature that is revered by some and despised by others. To some it is a savage beast and a merciless killer, to others a lonesome and mysterious spirit guide into a world beyond our understanding. But regardless of whether you stand as a supporter or detractor of this controversial creature, one thing remains certain: the wolf is alive and well in the world today and it will not be denied…


Feb 28 2012

#304 Awareness (28)

From Thomas in Austria

Today’s Link: Conservation Northwest

“Conservation Northwest is the premiere group working on recovery of Washington’s wolves. We’ve hosted activist trainings, educational forums for ranchers and landowners, presentations on learning to live with wolves, adding to a reward fund to deter poachers, and monitoring wolf packs across the state.”


Feb 26 2012

#302 Awareness (26)

From a stranger in Hertfordshire, England

Today’s Link: Wolf Talk Educational Programs (Massachusetts)

“Many years ago wolves roamed and hunted the land freely.  Today this beautiful and elusive animal has become endangered, some have vanished forever from the places they called home.

The disappearance of these great creatures of the wild is not a mystery.  Man, out of unfounded fears and misunderstanding, has falsely accused and persecuted the wolf almost to the point of oblivion.  This, combined with the reduction of the wolves natural habitat due to the expansion of urban areas, has left the future of the wolf hanging in the balance.

Our Goal: The wolf, like all living things, plays an important role in our ecology.  It is our goal at Wolf Talk to restore the wolf to the American wilderness.  The best place to start is through education.  The time to start is NOW!”


Feb 22 2012

#298 Awareness (22)

From Patty in Hixson, Tennessee

Today’s Link: The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

“It is the mission of the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center to…

Educate the public through tours and programs about the importance of wolves, coyote, and fox to our ecosystem

Educate the public about the importance of preservation and conservation of the forests, land and water that supports wildlife, flora and fauna for future generations to enjoy.

Provide natural habitats and exceptional lives for the animals entrusted to our care since they cannot live in the wild.”


Feb 19 2012

#295 Awareness (19)

From Debbie (facebook page here)

Today’s Link: The Dire Wolf Project

“The Dire Wolf Project was started in 1988 in order to bring back the look of the large prehistoric Dire Wolf in a domesticated dog breed.  The National American Alsatian Breeder’s Club governs the project and standardizes breeding practices for this unique large companion dog.  Health and temperament remain the highest priority over the look of the Dire Wolf, so this project is slow and methodical.  Join us on a historical journey of Dire Wolf memories and watch as we domesticate history one generation at a time.”


Feb 17 2012

#293 Awareness (17)

 

From a stranger in the Chattanooga area.

Today’s link:

The Searching Wolf is a fantastic website with an incredibly wide range of resources and information for every type of wolf lover. From details pictures of wolf skulls and anatomy to tests and quizzes, if you’re looking for anything wolf-related, you’re sure to find it here. Enjoy!


Feb 13 2012

#289 Awareness (13)

From Matilda in Australia

Wolf Park (Indiana):

Mission Statement – “Wolf Park is a non-profit organization dedicated to education and behavioral research which benefits wolves and their canid relatives. The Park maintains free-living ambassador animals in mixed habitats, provides public educational programs and in-depth seminars, hosts researchers from many institutions to conduct behavioral and cognitive research with the wolves, and advocates for the species’ conservation.”


Feb 12 2012

#288 Awareness (12)

From Mariah

For those of you who don’t know (which is probably all of you), Mariah was the very first individual to ever submit a picture to WBS. Her original submission can be seen all the way back at #2. Thanks so much for the support, Mariah. The gift of your artwork means more to me than you’ll ever know.

Timber Wolf Preservation Society

Here’s a part of the TWPS Mission Statement:

“If wolves and other native species are to make any kind of comeback, it is necessary for the public to understand and appreciate the predator/prey relationship for the balance of nature.  It is to this end that the society is working.  We believe that a large part of the reason for the wolf’s endangered status is due to widespread misunderstanding concerning its nature and place in the environment.  Through lectures to schools, civic and sportsman groups and media interviews, the society hopes to dispel false notions and past myths about the wolf and to instill a sense of value for a missing part of our wilderness areas.”


Jan 27 2012

#272 Less is More (27)

From Jenn (?) in Hertfordshire, England

Enjoy these nice thoughts about hugs courtesy of poofcat.com. And don’t forget to hug the ones you love today!

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Hugging is healthy. It assists the body’s immune system, it cures depression,

it reduces stress, it induces sleep, it invigorates, it rejuvenates,

and it has no unpleasant side-effects.

Hugging is no less than a miracle drug.



Jan 20 2012

#265 Less is More (20)

From K. in Evanston, Illinois

 

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

~ Anatole France

f


Jan 17 2012

#262 Less is More (17)

From Ulla in Finland

Many people can boast about receiving a few Christmas cards from close friends, but how many can say that they received one from a stranger half way around the world? Thank you, Ulla. I hope this new is full of blessings for you. (For more information about the manufacturer of this card and its accompany artwork, visit amusantti.fi)

“Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways
it can change someone else’s life forever.”

~ Margaret Cho

j


Dec 10 2011

#224 “Happeh”

From Dreya in Maryland

Happiness is not a response or a destination. It is a decision, a choice.

This is a lesson that I am continually learning, and it’s young artists like Dreya who are often my teachers. In the body of work Dreya sent to me, happiness is a clear theme. It seems that almost all of her wolves are smiling. They are all basking in the glory of a life filled with contentment and tranquility. They trot, they dance, they howl peacefully, they make friends with heart-shaped butterflies. Simply put, they seem to love life. Even the name of this work itself (which was chosen by Dreya) conveys the happiness that fills this young artist’s heart and flows out into her creations.

A few days ago someone posted a piece of scripture on the Wolves by Strangers facebook page. The verse was Isaiah 11:6, and it reads, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” I’m not calling Dreya a child, nor am I assigning any real supernatural powers of Biblical magnitude to her or her artwork, but at the same time I can’t help but to be lead to a more holy place of inner peace when I experience her works of innocence, purity and happiness. In a world that often chooses to focus on negativity and a society that sometimes seems to focus exclusively on entitlement and self-pity, it is artwork like Dreya’s that has the power to work small modern miracles.

Thanks, Dreya. If there’s anything I can say about this illustration, it’s that it truly did make me happy.

To see more of Dreya’s work, check out her dA page here.


Dec 6 2011

#220 “One of the Pack”

From a stranger in Highland Heights, Kentucky

Over the past several months, I have focused quite a bit on this venture’s goal of establishing a loose community of artists and wolf enthusiasts who have all chosen to take part in something fun, simple and a bit unique. Through the power of art and a deep love and appreciation for the lobo, people from all over the world have come together to create something magical: a collection of weird and wonderful wolf-themed artwork that welcomes all submissions as special and important. In the end, nothing sums this up as well as this one simple illustration. With his bright, optimistic eyes and endearing smile, this wolf encourages all of us to find a place where we can belong and also inspires us to open our arms wide in acceptance of others. Let’s face it, we’re all in this thing together, so let me officially say right now that if anyone in the Wolves by Strangers audience needs a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on, I am here for you. You have done so much for me, and I stand ready to return the favor. You know how to reach me….

Howls and Scratches,

“J”


Oct 27 2011

#180 “Love Me…”

From “Go Girl” in Memphis, Tennessee

First off, in reference to the note in the corner of this picture, I feel that I must tell “Go Girl” that I truly do love this illustration. It is like no other picture that I have received, and it certainly shows a rarely seen side of the wolf: the cute and vulnerable side.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this picture takes me back to the days when local newscasts would feature pets that were housed at the neighborhood animal shelter and would plead their case for adoption. Maybe it’s the oversized, almost pitiful eyes or the somewhat tentative stance. Maybe it’s the name, “Cody,” which seems so much like one that I can hear rolling off the tongue of Paul Barys as he tenderly strokes Cody’s fur as he sits shivering atop the WRCB news desk. It might even be the overt sentiment expressed in the statement, “He loves you all” or the tattoo that seems to say “LOVE ME.”

But no matter what it is, there is a message of vulnerability and love expressed here that is nothing if it not touching. We all yearn for acceptance. We all seek to belong. And at the end of the day its wonderful to know that someone is taking care of us.

But the question is… Who will take care of the wolf? Who will protect it? Who will speak on its behalf when others speak out against it?

Will you?


Oct 18 2011

#171 “What a Smile!”

From Arantxa in Santa Marta, Colombia

When I was in high school, my circle of friends just happened to also be friends with a man in his mid-30s by the name of Jeff. Because of extensive drug use during his own high school years, Jeff had sustained some serious and permanent brain damage and was forced to take a number of medications in order to keep his moods regulated and his brain functioning somewhat properly. It was actually a very sad story, and in the end it served as a great lesson for all of us to simply leave drugs alone. We had a painfully vivid first-hand account of what they could do to you if things got out of control.

Anyway, as my friends and I grew to know Jeff, one of the most entertaining features of our relationship was the fact that he would share with us stories of his high school sexual escapades and extensive drug use. Many of these stories were wildly improbable and completely depraved, and the simple-minded delivery that Jeff would employ was often just as hilariously astounding as the actual details of the stories themselves. Of course, these anecdotes were entirely inappropriate for us to be listening to, but this fact made them all the more attractive. Also, I know that your Spidey Senses might start tingling when you think about a man almost 20 years older than us telling us stories about sex and drugs, but what you have to realize is that intellectually and socially, Jeff was actually on about the same level as we were. We practically viewed him as a peer, and I am fully convinced that we were never in danger in any way when we were with him. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, his stories often served as a very effective warning for us.

Also, even though Jeff’s stories about his own high school experiences were raunchy and completely immoral, as an adult he was more calm, gentle and caring than any man I had ever met. I never heard him say one cross word to or about another living being, and he was always respectful in the extreme. In fact, when urged to speak about girls or women that he thought were attractive, Jeff would always say the same thing: “She was a real pretty smile.” That was it. After all of his wild adventures, mild-altering trips and sexual conquests, that was all that Jeff had to say about women.

I can still remember being completely shocked but also very impressed by this. There was a simple truth in that statement about a pretty smile that rang true to me, even as a self-asborded teenager. I know it sounds strange, but in a small way Jeff actually taught me a greater respect for women and he instilled within in me the idea that the beauty of a smile was perhaps the most valuable feature that a person could have. Now, as an adult I look around at this materialistic and over sexualized culture that we live in today, and I believe it’s important to return to that simplistic appreciation for a kind and caring smiling.

In the end the reason why I have said all of this is because this beautiful illustration by Arantxa takes me back to that wonderful, youthful appreciation for the smile. Thank you, Arantxa, for the reminder. You could have drawn just about anything: a sexy wolf in lingerie, a savage wolf feeding on a human feast. But no, you chose to focus on a subject of beauty, innocence and kindness, and that is truly what the world needs now.

Never stop smiling, Arantxa. After all, when you get ready to start your day, a smile is the most important thing you can put on.


Oct 14 2011

#167 “You can’t fight true love”

From Emily in Signal Mountain, Tennessee

A few days ago…

I stood just inside the doorway to our kitchen, next to the counter where I always drop my keys and wallet as I come in from work. Carefully, I opened the large manilla envelope with a small carving knife and slid out the picture, paying special attention not to tear or even crease it. At that same moment I heard the back door open again as my wife walked inside. She settled her purse in its usual spot on the counter, walked up behind me, and wrapped her hands around my waist. Placing her chin on my shoulder and peering over, she asked, “What’s that? Another picture?”

Somewhat absently, without even looking up, I muttered, “Yeah, I just got it today.”

“Oh. That’s cool. What do you think it means?”

“I’m not sure,” I said. “I guess it means… Well, I guess it means that you can’t fight true love.”

“That seems about right,” she said. And then added, “Kind of like us.”

“Yeah… Kind of like us.” Suddenly an unexpected smile spread across my face.

And with that she kissed me on the cheek and walked into the bedroom to change clothes.

 

Without question, being in love has its ups and downs. At times it can feel like life’s greatest blessing, but it also has the potential to seem like a cruel joke. But high or low, good times or bad, when you fall in love… you just know it. You can’t fight it.

Thanks for the reminder, Emily. I know you’re still young, but someday I hope you find a love that makes you feel passionately and wonderfully alive (at least most of the time). Never settle for anything less. You’re worth it.