Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sandhill Cranes and Art

My crane observations go back a long way.  In fact, the experience of hearing and seeing my first sandhill cranes staging at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in 1999, marked the beginning of a major change in my life--a change that moved me into my passion for wildlife conservation and creating art.  The two are now inseparable.
Early gourd art pieces created in 2001-2002 and inspired by sandhill cranes and whooping cranes.

What's so special about cranes?  As Aldo Leopold put it in his book of essays, A Sand County Almanac:   "Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty.  It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.  The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words."

Above, you see a painting I created in late November 2011 using one of my favorite sandhill crane reference images.  Two sandhill cranes with their "landing gear" down are floating in for a landing at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge.  I have always loved this posture.  The cranes hold their wings like parachutes and dangle their legs as they float down in preparation for landing.

I also selected this image as my cover illustration for my new children's activity book, the Discover Birds Activity Book.  A fun project!
This twelve-page booklet is sponsored by the Tennessee Ornithological Society (TOS) and will be available for the first time at the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival in Birchwood, TN this weekend, January 14th and 15th.  The idea of creating an activity book for the kids that attend the festival was conceived by friend and TOS member, Cyndi Routledge, who also secured the funding and arranged for the layout and printing.  I had the pleasure of creating the text and illustrations and I am delighted with the beautiful results.

The book includes bird illustrations to color, fun facts about wintering birds and conservation, and a challenging crossword puzzle to test what you've learned.   My hope is that we can expand this book in coming years and continue to inspire children and their interest in birds and bird conservation.
More about this book click here.

Links and Resources:
More about the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival
My watercolor gallery at my website
Links to my gourd art:  Gourd Art GalleryAbout Gourd ArtGourd Art ShopGourd Art Tutorials

5 comments:

  1. Dear Vickie,

    What a lovely surprise to see your homage to both gourds and cranes! Your watercolors are amazing. Someday I will sit down with mine to do your wet-on-wet tutorial. So much to do...so little time. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How exciting to create something that shares your love and knowledge of birds, as well as your talents in art and words! It is so awesome to think of those kids learning and growing through your contribution!

    I got involved in creating the art for a coloring book about five years ago for a Florida conservation group; it was such a rewarding experience that it's led to offering coloring pages on my blog.

    The sandhill crane painting is wonderful, as well as those lovely gourds!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you, Peggy. My enjoyment of gourd art actually preceded watercolor. I love both!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Elizabeth, its fun that you've shared the experience of creating a coloring book. This is my third one. My first was an online coloring book for a whooping crane conservation organization, and the second Operation Migration's Whooping crane activity book. A fun and rewarding way to use your art. I love your idea of posting coloring pages on your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Vickie,
    I love your sandhill crane gourds and activity book! They are all really beautiful. We have ssndhill cranes here in Gainesville, FL. We have a migrating population in the winter and an all year population at Paynes Prairie. I did a pastel of one. I will post it on the FB Nature group for you.

    ReplyDelete

Welcome! I am glad to hear your comments, questions and feedback! Vickie

Ocean Trail at Rancho Palos Verdes Preserve, California--2015

Ocean Trail at Rancho Palos Verdes Preserve, California--2015

Joshua Tree National Forest, California, with son Chad and daughter Thuan--2015

Joshua Tree National Forest, California, with son Chad and daughter Thuan--2015
Photo credit: Thuan Tram

Bird banding with Mark Armstrong at Seven Islands State Birding Park - 2014

Bird banding with Mark Armstrong at Seven Islands State Birding Park - 2014
Photo courtesy of Jody Stone

Birds Close-up

Birds Close-up
Photo courtesy of Karen Wilkenson

Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill, Manitoba

Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill, Manitoba
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Expeditions

A dog sled experience with Blue Sky Expeditions, Churchill, MB--2014

A dog sled experience with Blue Sky Expeditions, Churchill, MB--2014
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Expeditions

Churchill, Manitoba--2014

Churchill, Manitoba--2014
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky

2014 Hummingbird Festival

2014 Hummingbird Festival
Photo courtesy of Jody Stone

Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane art banners and son, John--2014

Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane art banners and son, John--2014

Muir Woods on the Dipsea Trail at Stinson Beach, California--2014

Muir Woods on the Dipsea Trail at Stinson Beach, California--2014
Photo courtesy of Wendy Pitts Reeves

Checking out the gulls at Stinson Beach--2014

Checking out the gulls at Stinson Beach--2014
Photo courtesy of Wendy Pitts Reeves

Discovery Hike in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska--2012

Discovery Hike in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska--2012
Photo courtesy of Ruth Carter
Related Posts with Thumbnails