It was a jam-packed four days of activities at the Society of Animal Artists 50th Anniversary celebration. Along with whale-watching, we spent a day at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the San Diego Zoo.
On the last day, we went over to the San Diego Natural History Museum for the official opening of “Art and the Animal”. Our work is beautifully displayed on three levels of the central atrium. Along with the artists and their guests, many members of the public were also in attendance. The show will be in San Diego until October 31.
That evening, it was time for the annual banquet, which included the presentation of the Society’s first Lifetime Achievement Award to Robert Bateman, which he richly deserves for both his distinguished career as an artist and his commitment to conservation and environmental issues.
The next morning I and fellow artists and SAA members Guy Combes and Andrew Denman departed for Anza-Borrego State Park in hopes of seeing and photographing desert bighorn sheep. As you can see below, we succeeded, toughing out unseasonably hot daytime temperatures which reached 112F.
Our next stop was the cooler clime of the Sierra Nevada foothills, home to the Sierra Endangered Cat Haven. As many of you know, I refuse to patronize for-profit game ranches. It has been a pleasure to discover Cat Haven, a non-profit operation which not only has the fittest and healthiest captive genetically wild cats that I have ever seen, but is heavily involved in a variety of conservation efforts on an on-going basis. I would encourage my fellow animal artists to consider a visit here to support an organization which puts the welfare of the animals first instead of using them for personal gain.
Yesterday we took an afternoon trip up into Kings Canyon National Park, which I had never been to. We were awed by the jaw-dropping magnificence of the canyon and took a LOT of photos.
I’ll be home soon from my travels and am looking forward to getting back to my easel!