Sunday, May 2, 2010

Beauty and the Butterfly Drawings

What do you do on a 22,000 acre cattle ranch in Wyoming for a month? You make a whole lot of art. I just spent the month of April at an artist residency at the Ucross Foundation in northern Wyoming. There is no way to describe how wonderful of an experience it was in a few short sentences, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

My mission…create a body of work depicting vultures in a beautiful way. I love a challenge and I’ve always enjoyed finding beauty in what others might consider “filthy”. (I am a dirtbag at heart).

This series is comprised of five 40”x30” oil on canvas paintings and nine 12”x9” pastel and charcoal drawings on butcherpaper. All of the vultures in the paintings are listed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered.

It is my hope that the viewer can catch a glimpse of how beautiful I see these wonderful creatures and understand that they are valuable within our communities and beyond.

(You can find more information and great photos of the vultures below by visiting and

Beauty and the Butterfly Drawing Series

Ruppell's Vulture

Monarch Butterfly #1

Turkey Vulture

Monarch Butterfly #2

Cape Vulture

Monarch Butterfly #3

Monk Vulture

Monarch Butterfly #4

White-backed Vulture

Beauty and the Butterfly Paintings

Beauty and the Butterfly Painting Series

Cape Vulture
(also known as Cape Griffon)

California Condor

White-headed Vulture

Lappet-faced Vulture

Egyptian Vulture
Seeing a California condor with my own eyes made this project a priority. This particular condor was recovering from a serious bout of lead poisoning which she acquired by eating carrion shot with lead bullets.

Her wingspan is 9.5 ft., making her 10 ft. wide flight enclosure a tight squeeze! I had the privilege of watching as she was moved to this enclosure. She was cautious and so inquisitive. As she investigated her new surroundings, you could see her “wheels turning”. What a smart and beautiful girl. I am glad to say that she is well and on her way to being released back into her natural habitat.

Vultures don’t fall into what the masses consider beautiful and maybe that is why I adore them. It is my hope that this series will allow the viewer to see them in a different light.