How many different ways are there to paint a quail—or an elk or a jaguar or a sunset? The slam against 'wildlife art' by self-annointed critics is that there must only be one way, because so much of what passes for wildlife art
looks the same. The complaint holds validity, to a point.
But ask someone like sculptor-painter George Carlson, the subject of our lead feature
in the latest issue of WildlifeArtJournal.com, and his reply is that as long as an artist is following a personal vision—and not relying on a camera, or over-emulating another artist, or too terrified to take risks—then it doesn't matter what critics think. Because every piece one creates is their own and it's Carlson's fervent belief that those who buy fine art know when a person is being authentic, original and sincere. Have a look at Carlson's quail painting, above. It's not about the birds, per se, it's about form and luminescence and color harmony.
Over a few years running, Carlson's contemoraries at Prix de West honored him with the Robert Lougheed Memorial Award given to the artist who submits the strongest collection of different works. Where will Carlson stack up in the annals of American art history? Enjoy our sneak preview of the pieces he's bringing to Prix de West in 2012 and a retrospective glance at his sculpture and recent flatwork.Carlson at home in Idaho
As readers of Wildlife Art Journal know, we like to nurture a fresh experience for visitors at the site and so we will be rolling out stories regularly until our next issue is ready in summer. If you keep coming back, and checking in every few days, you'll be rewarded with fresh content.
As everyone knows, these last few years have been tough sledding for artists, collectors who buy art, galleries, the media and those at home who have struggled through the economic downturn. During our visit with Carlson—the only two time winner of the prestigious Prix de West grand prize as both a sculptor and painter—he said something that pertains to the current struggle of artists: "Adversity creates pressure, pressure creates change." Art history shows that times of human struggle have been ages when expressions of creative genius thrived. We're in such an age now.
- "Aversity creates pressure, pressure creates change." —George Carlson
We like to reveal how artists live
, not just what they create. In our earlier edition of Wildlife Art Journal, readers were introduced to Adele Earnshaw, a talented painter who embraced adversity. Read our story: "Earnshaw's Reinvention: A Case Study For How To Succeed In A Down Art Economy
". Earnshaw, by necessity, switched from watercolor to oil. And
, she innovatively launched her "75 works for $75" series (still ongoing) and attracted a whole new legion of collectors, giving them a better entry point of affordability. The message is that artists need to adapt and open themselves up to change while still adhering to their values and principles. In another essay, Ross Parker expounded on the pleasures
that come with buying original art and offers suggestions for what to expect from a gallery.
The spring 2012 edition of WAJ has stories of survival and perseverence covering everything from artists who have lost the country they loved—African expat James Maberly
— to people at the height of their creative power who lost everything in a natural disaster [read our story about renowned illustrator and sporting artist Stan Olson Fellows
, right]. There are tales about people who stay true to themselves by painting the land that nurtures them—Carlson and Geoff Parker
— and other accounts of interpretors who venture afield in mind and spirit. You'll enjoy reading Chuck Neustifter's preview of Parker's upcoming show in Wyoming. You should also check out Debby Kaspari's interview with noted bird artist Mike Digiorgio in WAJ's Five Questions/Five Artworks
. DiGiorgia talks about studying with the late Don Richard Eckelberry, painting for field guides and trying to find ivory-billed woodpeckers.
Wildlife Art Journal does not deliver formulaic art stories, the kind that abound in most art magazines on the newstands. If that's what you prefer, you have a zillion options. If not, we're glad you found us. Welcome. We've done everything we can to make our subscription rate affordable (just $15/year) and our content portable. After all, our online magazine and online archives are always accessible to subscribers. You don't have to go scrambling to try and track down a back issue. We're hear to be a resource for artists and collectors and a place where lovers of the natural world converge around the virtual campfire. There's a lot more to come.
Please stay in touch,