December 3 was quite a day. First I got an email from Focus on Nature XV informing me that “Watchful (Saiga Antelope)” has been accepted into their exhibition. A couple of hours later I got an email from the California Art Club letting me know that “Elephant Seals, Piedras Blancas” was going to join fellow members’ work in “Magnificent Migrations: A Journey Through Central California”.
The first one is a big deal for me since scientific accuracy in appearance and behavior is required. Here’s the criteria:
“The Focus on Nature jury selects original works of natural and cultural history subjects (in whole or in part), excluding human anatomy and portraiture, that demonstrates:
- a high degree of technical skill
- scientific accuracy, including taxonomic definition
- aesthetic qualities, including composition
- a unique scientific and/or artistic viewpoint, techniques, medium, or format (organic depiction, schematics, diagrams, etc.) including traditional, mixed and multimedia, or computer-generated images
- a broad representation of artists”
So my saiga piece was in competition with artists who have degrees in scientific illustration. I have a BFA Illustration. I saw my subject, a young saiga antelope, in Mongolia when I was at Khar Us Nuur National Park in 2015. Generally, saiga run away the instant they spot a car or human, but this fellow stayed close enough for me to get some good reference photos. The mountain in the background is Jargalant Hairkhan Uul, which is sacred, as are all mountains in Mongolia.
The exhibition will be at the Roberson Museum and Science Center from July 21, 2019- January 12, 2020. You can find out more here.
My second accepted painting “Elephant Seals, Piedras Blancas” will be in the California Art Club/Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History exhibition “Magnificent Migrations: A Journey Through Central California” from January 18-April 14, 2019.
What makes this acceptance special is that it was open to all members and that means I was competing with nationally-known. long established artists. I just rejoined the Club this year which one does at the entry level of Associate Artist member. There is a review once a year in November for which one can submit work in hopes of getting a “promotion” to Artist Member and then beyond that are the Signature and Master Artists. That’s one of my goals for next year.
I saw these elephant seals on a trip to southern California many years ago. We were heading home up the coast on Highway 1. There was a big parking lot right on the ocean with a long stretch of beach on the south side, where I took this photo (which is closely cropped from the original) and a rocky area with tide pools on the north side. That day there were hundreds of elephant seals all over the place on both sides. And it was noisy! Young bulls were jousting with each other on land and in the surf, the pups trying to stay out of their way. My painting is from a long “pile” of seals who were laying about along the waterline. When I was going through my reference to find animal subjects from Central California, these two were an easy choice. I liked their expressions, colors and marking variations, plus the variety of colors on the ones around them.
You can find out more about the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History here.