To fly any further from my home in New Hampshire, I'd have to leave the planet. Madagascar is an entire hemisphere, a whole season, and more than 8,000 miles away. And when I finally landed after more than 24 hours in the air, my journey had just begun. To reach my first stop at the remote Tortoise Conservation Center--located in a part of the country called the Spiny Thicket--I drove for nine hours, bouncing over dirt tracks with huge potholes filled with puddles. The heat was like nothing I had ever experienced before, with no shade but my tent, and only brief bucket showers to cool off. I noticed maggots in the meat we would share for dinner. This was not a luxurious trip. But in the relative cool the next morning, as I was walking down a trail through thick, thorn-infested forest, I knew it was all worth the journey. I found what I was looking for: the high-domed shell and black and yellow head of my first live, wild, radiated tortoise, a critically endangered and staggeringly gorgeous reptile with distinctive with yellow lines radiating from the center of each dark plate on the back. Right then, I knew the arduous trip--which, little did I know, was to become more arduous still!-- was more than worth it. There's almost no distance I won't go, almost nothing I won't do, to learn all I can about my subjects to make my paintings of wild animals as accurate and lifelike as possible. I've been bitten by snapping turtles. I've caught alligators with my bare hands from a kayak. I've camped in the Everglades, traveled to Central America and have been all across the US visiting 48 states. I've delighted in it all. From as far back as I remember, I've loved both wildlife and art. I grew up in the small, rural New Hampshire town of New Ipswich. In my free time I was always either out fishing, searching for turtles and snakes or I was painting. My father was a biology teacher and our home hosted a large menagerie of animals, including a turtle named Heathcliff and two pigeons named Mel and Leroy. Today things haven’t changed much. I am a professional artist, and I work from a home I share with my wife, my tortoise, Eddie, my two dogs Roo and Monte and my snake Ernie. In both 2017 and 2018 I received the Roger Tory Peterson Wild American Art Award. My work has been featured in Yankee Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine and other publications. I also have exhibited in many fine art galleries, and my paintings hang in the permanent collection of museums. Recently I worked with Orvis to create exclusive trout prints. I received a degree from the Art Institute of Boston in Illustration in 2006. Three years later, in 2009, my father, retired from teaching, and I received a contract to write and illustrate a book for the University Press of New England titled "Freshwater Fish of the Northeast." The book was released in the spring of 2010 and won the 2010 National Outdoor Book Awards Design and Artistic Merit category. I currently have a book that has just been released on Reptiles and Amphibians titled The Snake and the Salamander: Reptiles and Amphibians from Maine to Virginia. This book also won a National Outdoor Book Award for Nature and the Environment. I feel it's crucial not just to document these marvelous species I paint; it's even more important to me to have a hand in saving them from extinction. Among reptiles alone, 196 species are presently critically endangered. That's why I'm a signature member of Artists for Conservation. That's why I often create artwork specifically to donate proceeds from its sale for conservation--as I recently did for the radiated tortoises I met in Madagascar. I'm grateful to use my talent to not only raise awareness about these gorgeous animals, but help keep them alive on the planet we human newcomers are lucky to share with them.
Acrylic, Fine Art, Gouache, Pencil, Realism
Animals, Botanical, Education, Family, Landscape, Nature, Science, Scientific, Sports, Wildlife, Environmental