Feb 14 2012

#290 Awareness (14)

From Skylar of Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Artists for Conservation: Support Nature through Art

Mission and Vision:

“At AFC, our mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage. Through international art exhibits, collaborative art-science expeditions, publications and cutting-edge online initiatives, we engage, inspire and inform the public, and empower passionate professional artists as effective ambassadors for the environment.”

Nov 23 2011

#207 “Transcendental Variety”

From Colin in Chattanooga, Tennessee

There are many aspects of this illustration that I find significant and intriguing, but two of the most prevalent features that speak to me are the inherent ideas of transcendentalism and variety that are on display here. Seeing as how the illustration depicts (in some ways) a creature that is a conglomeration of other animals, it seems that the picture comments on the diversity of life in the world around us. But at the same time, when we take a closer look, we see common threads throughout almost all forms of life. We see characteristics and features that are almost universal to all creatures, whether they be wolf, duck, tiger, horse or human.

In the end, as I lay my eyes upon this drawing which is clearly a celebration of life and nature, I am reminded of two of my favorite quotes by some of the world’s leading scientific minds. Ruminate on these thoughts and enjoy!

“I think nature’s imagination is so much greater than man’s.
She’s never going to let us relax.”
- Richard Feynman

“We are all connected:
To each other, biologically; To the earth, chemically; To the rest of the universe atomically.”
- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Aug 8 2011

#100 “Into the Wild”

From Adam in Alexandria, Virginia.

For as long as I can remember, one of my greatest passions in life has been spending time in the beauty of the natural world that surrounds us. Given that I collect pictures of wolves, this should probably come as no surprise. I am disappointed to say, however, that as time passes on and eternity speeds towards us, I have become increasingly less attuned with nature.

When I was a child, the interaction was effortless. It was so easy to be one with nature. As William Wordsworth says to his daughter in the sonnet “It is a Beauteous Evening,” “thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year, God being with thee when we know it not.” What Wordsworth is referring to here is the fact that when confronted with a scene of great natural beauty, many children may not seem to have an outward appreciation like adults do , but this is simply because children are so in tune with nature on a continual basis that they don’t have to show an outward appreciation in order to be unified with Mother Earth. In other words, it comes so naturally for them that they don’t even have to try. Ahhh… to be young again. To play in those piles of Autumn leaves. To climb those trees again and peel the crumbly bark from dogwood branches. To fashion those snowballs and swing from ropes into ice-cold spring water. Passion of my youth, where have you gone?

There was a time not so long ago when I tried adamantly to reignite this flame within. In truth, through a series of ventures, I was successful for a while, but noose of a tie and the smog of crowded city streets has once again clouded my vision. As a result, I appreciate that this illustration kindly reminds to once again pick up that walking stick and hit the trails, so to speak. Thank you, Adam, for reminding me of the zeal for the beauty of creation that I had in my younger days.

In honor of the theme of this illustration and in order to celebrate the 100th post on the Wolves by Strangers website, I have decided to post a picture of myself. This was taken in Teton National Park in Wyoming several years ago during a backpacking trip with my father and a few friends. Enjoy!

Jun 27 2011

#58 “Romanticism”

From Elaine in Jacksonsville, FL

I would like to start off by quickly addressing this illustrator’s self-deprecating comments about her own artistry, but I won’t spend much time on this subject because we can all see that the artwork is amazing. In short, try not to be so hard on yourself, Elaine, your work is both artistically and thematically impressive.

When we as humans examine nature as a whole or in general, we often view ourselves as creatures that live either in separation from it or in opposition to it. But a question that we don’t ever consider is how animals, themselves, view the natural world around them. It is doubtless that they feel a much greater level of harmony than we do, but do they have an actual aesthetic appreciation for it? I believe that they can and that they do and that this illustration serves well as a rendering of this concept.

Notice the coy smile perched upon the snout of this wolf’s face as he gazes down into the grinning countenance of this beautiful little flower. He obviously appreciates the loveliness of this flower and the magnificent adornment to Mother Nature that it provides. All of this is taking place while the benevolent sun shines down lovingly from above. It make my heart leap with joy. Hmmmm… that reminds me… this picture is surprisingly similar to one of the most famous nature poems of all time: “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” by William Wordsworth.

I won’t bore you with details of Wordworth’s life or work, but suffice it to say that he revolutionized poetry by single-handedly launching the Romantic time period in British Literature and is widely accepted as England’s greatest nature poet.

Read this poem for yourself and see if you find the connection as well.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
that floats on high o’er vales and hills
when all at once I saw a crowd,
a host, of golden daffodils;
beside the lake, beneath the trees,
fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the milky way,
they stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
a poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed- and gazed- but little thought
what wealth the show to me and brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
in vacant or in pensive mood,
they flash upon that inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude;
and then my heart with pleasure fills,
and dances with the daffodils.