Sunday, May 1, 2016

Opening of Art and the Animal

Canton Museum of Art

The Canton Museum of Art

55th Annual Art and the Animal

Art and the Animal is the tour of selections from the annual juried exhibition of members of the Society of Animal Artists. The Tour Director is, David J. Wagner, Ph.D

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Brian Jarvi's 



Rarely does a concept and body of work to back it up come along that begs for a museum exhibition, as much as the AFRICAN MENAGERIE project of Brian Jarvi. Seven large panoramic panels, the largest of which is 9 feet by five feet, form a sweeping, grand panorama of the African savannah and the animal kingdom contained therein. Fifty related research sketches and mixed media studies accompany the panorama; along with subtly and intelligently integrated signage describing the wildlife and ecology.

Documenting the project will be a coffee-table book by Todd Wilkinson, author of such books as Last Stand: Ted Turner's Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, and Kent Ullberg: Monuments to Nature. Wilkinson's book, will be available to tour venues to sell in their book stores and gift shops.

Bongo Study

SAA member Brian Jarvi is widely recognized as among the very best painters of Africa today. AN AFRICAN MENAGERIE is unparalleled in its breadth, depth, and scope, and sure to be a hit with visitors wherever it is displayed.

David J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Curator/Tour Director


From  its  very  conception  fourteen  years  ago,  "African  Menagerie"  has  experienced  a  journey  of growth,  meaning,  and  evolution.  Now,  it  has  entered  the  most  exciting  phase;  creation  of  the  epic vision.  The  seven  paneled  twenty-seven  foot  long  work  will  feature  more  than  one  hundred  forty different species from the Dark Continent, spawned from early childhood fascination with both living collections  of  wild  animals,  and  paintings  from  the  distant  past  portraying  large  varied  groups  of exotic  creatures.  In  the  "Menagerie,"  the  gathering  of  an  incredible  array  of  wildlife  will  be  set against  a  grand  panoramic  backdrop,  highlighted  by  a  view  of  the  receding  snows  of  Mount Kilimanjaro. All of Africa's icons including the Elephant,  Leopard, Giraffe, Rhino, Hippo, and Zebra will  mingle  with  such  exotics  as  the  Bongo,  Okapie,  and  Mandrill. 

Windows to the Soul, Mandrill

More  than  eighty  bird  species; Ostrich,  Shoebill,  Lilac  Breasted  Roller,  and  Sacred  Ibis  among  them,  have  also  arrived.  And  man, who has come to dominate the earth, has been summoned to this gathering, as the natural world seeks answers  to  the  growing  issues  of  survival  faced  by  countless  species  across  the  planet. 

Haley's Flamingos

African Spoonbill Prestudy

Allegorical storyline's intended to dramatize the urgency of the moment are woven into the tapestry of this idyllic scene.  For  example,  the  arrival  of  the  "Four  Horses"  from  the  far  left,  and  the  "Lion  and  the  Lamb" seated  directly  in  front  of  a  "DaVinci"  like  figure  in  the  foreground,  compel  the  viewer  to  interact with  the  scene.  Over  the  years,  the  original  concept  of  simply  seeking  to  create  art,  has  evolved  into something far more meaningful: a message to humanity intended to inspire acts of conservation. Acts that  will  save,  not  just  the  great  iconic  species  of  Africa,  but  wildlife  across  our  fabulously,  diverse planet.

Grant's Gazelle

In  preparation  for  the  creation  of  "African  Menagerie,"  more  than  100  studies  will  be  produced. Pencil,  charcoal,  monochromatic  oils,  mixed  media  and  major  full  color  oils  will  be  created  as  I explore  and  familiarize  myself  with  a  multitude  of  species.  To  date,  fourteen  of  these  works  have been  completed,  six  of  which  have  been  juried  into  major  exhibitions  including  The  Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists, Artists for Conservation Annual Exhibition, Birds in Art at  the  Leigh  Yawkey  Woodson  Art  Museum  where  one  work  was  purchased  for  acquisition  into  the permanent  collection.  More  studies  will  focus  on  relative  scale,  personality,  attitude,  and  the demeanor of  a wide array  of subjects.  Numerous  small multi-species paintings will be produced over the  course  of  this  process  including  "The  Sunbirds,"  "The  Duikers,"  and  "The  Ibis"  studies,  just  to name  a  few.  Eight  of  these  pieces  will  be  of  major  variety.  The  following  is  a  list  of  those  works, along with brief descriptions.


In preparation for the creation of "African Menagerie," more than 100 studies will be produced in various media including pencil, charcoal, monochromatic oils, mixed media and major full color oils.

Many will also be included in the exhibition.

Lion and Lamb

"Predatoria" (36x72)
"Predatoria" will feature species ranging from the diminutive Banded Mongoose to the iconic 450lb African Lion. Also included are the Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Homo Sapien, Honey Badger, Cheetah, and others in a menagerie grouping.

"The Last Quagga" (36x48)
A detailed full color study of the extinct Quagga Zebra.


"Twelve Monkeys" (40x80)
Several of the primates including the Western Lowland Gorilla, Yellow Baboon, Wolf's Mona Monkey, Mandrill, Homo Sapien, Colobus Monkey, and others.

Bonobo Charcoal

The Birds Study in Progress
Silent Song, The Birds

"The Birds" (36x48)
The nearly completed menagerie grouping of more than 20 of Africa's most iconic avian species including the Ostrich, Shoebill, Crowned Crane, Lilac Breasted Roller, Bateluer Eagle, and Lesser Flamingo.

"Omega Man" (36x48)
A study of Homo Sapien inspired by DaVinci's "Vitruvian Man."
"The Four Horses" (40x60)
A Prestudy of the Equines includes the Mountain Zebra, Grevy's Zebra, Burchell's Zebra, and the Quagga.

"Jurassica" (72x72)
"Jurassica" will feature several of the more prehistoric appearing species including the Elephant, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, and Crocodile.

"Master Prestudy" (48x96)
The Master Prestudy will be a complete monochromatic preliminary study of the final epic 27 feet long and 10 feet high painting titled "African Menagerie, The Inquisition."    

Documenting the exhibition will be a book by Todd Wilkinson,
Author, Last Stand: Ted Turner`s Quest To Save A Troubled Planet.


 October 1 - December 21, 2017
 Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University, KS

 January 20 - April 5, 2018
 Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ

 April 26 - July 15, 2018
 Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH

Additional Venues are Pending

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Robert Bateman

Listen to Robert Bateman and Kent Ullberg discuss their environmental painting and sculpture in Environmental Impact at Saint Mary's College Museum of Art on Ecotopia with Susan and Stephen Tchudi on KZFR 90.1 Chico, California:
Kent Ullberg
Environmental Impact Exhibit Curator, Dr. David J. Wagner, will join the conversation in an interview sequel on March 1 at 6:00 p.m. PST.

David Wagner

The Stanford University initiative, Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere (MAHB) has posted these Blog Entries from Robert Bateman, Leo Osborne, David Wagner, Derek Robertson, with more to come:
Derek Robertson
Leo Osborne

Monday, December 21, 2015

Walter Ferguson 1930-2015 

Today I received an email from the son of the painter, Walter Ferguson, a long-time member of The Society of Animal Artists, whose work is featured in Environmental Impact, informing me that Walter passed away on December 18, and that his funeral is today in Israel. Walter worked as an artist for the American Museum of Natural History and the Tel Aviv University, and is best known for his wildlife art.

"Save the Earth" by Walter Ferguson

 Walter was born in New York City in 1930. He received his formal art training at Yale School of Fine Arts and Pratt Institute. In 1965, Walter immigrated to Israel with his wife and settled in Beit Yanai on the Mediterranean coast, where they raised four children.  In Israel Walter maintained an active and successful career.  He traveled extensively over a period of more than 60 years throughout North America, Mexico, The Middle East and Africa, and his travels inspired paintings of the indigenous people, wildlife, and other subjects.  Walter was a versatile artist who began championing environmentalism in his artwork earlier than most.  His large, activist, oil painting, Save the Earth (attached), which is featured in Environmental Impact, is from 1989.  It is one of three paintings by Walter that are featured in Environmental Impact.

I admired Walter and his work greatly. Walter's work was courageous.  And he and his sons were generous in lending it for display in Environmental Impact and other museum exhibitions.   Walter's correspondence with me was always kind, thoughtful, and instructive.  His family's loss is our loss, the artworld's, too. 

David J. Wagner

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tigers, Manta Rays and Racing Extinction!

by Alison Nichols

I have not seen a wild tiger 1. I have not been swimming in the ocean with sharks or manta rays. Although I have not seen these species in their wild habitats, I know that each one fills a unique niche and that the planet will be a poorer place without them.

Racing Extinction – Discovery Channel Global Premiere, December 2, 9pm EST.
Racing Extinction - Discovery Channel Global Premiere, December 2, 9pm EST.

If you are reading this, clicking like, adding a comment or agreeing with my sentiments, then you may already know about the global premiere of Racing Extinction on the Discovery channel tomorrow, Wednesday December 2, showing at various times (9pm EST). If you are planning to watch it, that’s fantastic! But here is the problem – if you are already planning to watch it, then it is likely that nothing in this film will come as a surprise, because you probably already know about the industrial-scale removal and destruction of wildlife and plants underway across the planet, with countless species being decimated for our consumption, either as food, trinkets or products of some other kind.
The problem is, how do we get people who don’t know or care about these issues to watch this film (and others like it)? My plan had been to watch Racing Extinction with friends. I told several that I had already seen the film at a screening at The Explorers Club, so their 1st questions was “How bad is it? Is it graphic?” I can’t lie. Yes, parts of the film are graphic, but that is because what we are doing to other species on this planet is graphic. So several friends said they would not be able to watch it. How many other people, who might start to watch the film, will turn off as soon as they see something too graphic? I have seen many wildlife-related images and videos that haunt me. There are some I could mention right now that I think about probably every few weeks. I will remember them forever. They make me wince and want to turn away and think of something else. But turning away doesn’t help to solve the problem.
So here is my challenge to you, if you find it hard to watch films like this – try to watch the whole film (it ends with some suggestions about what you can do). Because only by seeing the graphic nature of what we, the human race, are doing, will we truly try to alter our behavior. When you feel that terrible pang of guilt, maybe you will stop eating so much meat, decide not to buy that teak furniture for your patio, avoid products containing microbeads2, use the dishwasher and dryer less, decide not to own exotic species as pets, or stop using harmful chemical products and excessive amounts of water on your lawn. That pang of guilt might make you think about your behavior and, ultimately, change. And change is what is desperately needed.
So watch Racing Extinction, preferably with a friend, then #StartWith1Thing !
1 Although I have been growled at by a tiger in Bardia, Nepal, while sitting on an elephant, in grass taller than the elephant, with my feet pulled up around my chest. But that’s a whole different story!
2 Microbeads are tiny plastic particles found in many personal care products. They pass through our water supply and eventually out into the ocean, where many creatures ingest them, accidentally mistaking them for food particles. Visit to download a free app to help you identify products containing microbeads.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Susan Fox with Dr. S. Amgalanbaatar (left) and Dr. Barry Rosenbaum (right) and Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve researchers and staff members Moogii, Baagii, Chuka and Anand


Susan created the WildArt Mongolia Expeditions four years ago as a way to use art to support conservation in Mongolia. She recently returned from her tenth trip to the Land of Blue Skies.

Susan is a Fellow of the Explorers Club (FN14) and had the privilege of carrying a Flag during this years Expedition. Flag 179 has a long and honorable expedition history going back to 1959. It has been carried to, among other places: Mt. Everest, the South Pacific, the North Pole, Ecuador,  the Amazon, Thailand, the Caucasus Mountains , Rwanda, St. Pierre and Yemen. And now Mongolia. You can find out more about the Flags here:

Susan Fox at Khomyn Tal with takhi in the background, Zavkhan Aimag

Her 2013 Expedition, the first, traveled to the remote western Gobi to explore Takhiin Tal, the first location where takhi/Przewalskis horse was reintroduced to Mongolia, and also to an area a days drive to the the north, Darvi and Sharga Soums (counties), which has a population of critically endangered saiga antelope The 2014 Expedition went northeast into the Han Hentii Mountains to visit the site of an important new crane research effort being carried out by researchers from Mongolia, Russia and China and then south onto the legendary grassland steppes to see Mongolian gazelles. You can find out more about those Expeditions on Susans website at

Saiga antelope at Dorgon Nuur, Khar Us Nuur National Park, Hovd Aimag

 In the coming weeks shell be blogging all aspects of the 2015 WildArt Mongolia Expedition, which went to Bayan-Olgii, Hovd and Zavkhan aimags (states or provinces) in the far west to explore:
-Khar Us Nuur National Park, which includes Jargalant Hairkhan Uul, a freestanding mountain extension of the Altai Mountains, which is the home of an estimated population of 37 snow leopards, and three lakes: Khar Us Nuur, Khar Nuur and Dorgon Nuur.
-Khomyn Tal, one of the three locations in Mongolia, along with Takhiin Tal and Hustai National Park, where takhi/Przewalskis horse has been reintroduced.
-and the Altai Mountains, where she began the Expedition with three days of observing and recording argali mountain sheep capture efforts in the Hokh Serkhiin Nuruu Strictly Protected Area. Her hosts were Dr. Barry Rosenbaum, a research associate with the Denver Zoo, and Dr. S. Amgalanbaatar of the Argali Wildlife Research Center, Mongolias leading argali researcher and also the Director of Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve. (see photo at top).

Campsite near sacred spring in a valley on Jargalant Hairkhan Uul, Khar Us Nuur National Park, Hovd Aimag
 While at Khar Us Nuur National Park, she was also was able to game drive for saiga antelope and saw dozens of them in less than two days, possibly 10%+ of the population of the area, which encompasses the central plain of the park and extending southeast towards the Gobi.

Khomyn Tal takhi sketches; graphite, Pentalic Nature Sketch sketchbook

Besides takhi and argali, during her total of seven weeks in Mongolia Susan also saw and photographed Siberian ibex, Mongolian gazelles, Siberian marmots, pika, lammergeier (IUCN Near Threatened), Dalmation pelicans (IUCN Vulnerable),  demoiselle cranes, whooper swans, Daurian partridge and black kites.

She did over two dozen watercolors and many sketches and drawings during the Expedition.

Aspen trees, Maikhan Nature Reserve, Hovd Aimag; 8x8 watercolor on Saunders Waterford cold press paper

Ovoo in valley near campsite on Jargalant Hairkhan Uul, Khar Us Nuur National Park, Hovd Aimag; 8x8 watercolor on Saunders Waterford cold press paper

Susan is currently in the planning stages for the 2016 WildArt Mongolia Expedition. If you are interested in being considered for participation, please email her at

Moonrise over Jargalant Hairkhan Uul, from the shore of Khar Nuur, Khar Us Nuur National Park, Hovd Aimag)