Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lion goes to Vermont

"Margin (Lioness)" travels to Bennington, Vermont

Art of the Animal Kingdom XVIII
Bennington Center for the Arts
Bennington, Vermont
June 15 - August 25, 2013

Graphite Pencil on Arches #300 watercolor paper
5 x 19

Robert's drawing "Margin (Lioness)" has been selected to appear at the 2013 Art of the Animal Kingdom exhibitions, June 15 through August 25, 2013, in Bennington, Vermont.

The Bennington Center for the Arts brings world-class fine art, history and theatre to the residents and visitors of Southwestern Vermont. The center's permanent art collection, sales exhibitions, live theatre and exhibits within the Covered Bridge Museum are available throughout the year.

Considered one of the most prestigious wildlife exhibitions in the country, this year's Art of the Animal Kingdom features 65 pieces of art. Carel Brest van Kempen is this year's special guest artist and juror of the exhibition.

I had to travel halfway around the world to find "margin" and realize that I was missing it. 
On November 7, 2012, I was on a game drive in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, Africa, with my friend and fellow artist James Gary Hines, a photographer, when we crossed paths with two female lions. What a wonderful sight! These were the first lions that I had seen in the wild. We were driving on the outlying area, the margin, of Silale Swamp, which doesn't look like a swamp at all, when we saw one lion off to our left and another on our right. The one on the right was sitting up looking at the other lion, and you could sense that she wanted to cross the road and go to her mother or sister down in the tall grasses under an umbrella acacia tree.
With my camera ready, I sat back and waited for her to cross the road. What an amazing sight; she strolled out across the dirt road and into the tall grasses, and with every step, I could see every muscle flex as she glided into the tall grass. I was amazed by how well she blended into the grass, the lightness of her fur blending into the stalks. This is what I wanted to capture in my drawing, how, moving ever so silently in the grass, the lion became part of her environment. 
When I returned from Africa, friends would ask, "So, how was it?" I had the hardest time explaining how great my trip to Africa was. I couldn't put exactly what I experienced besides the obvious into words. What I found out later was that I experienced "margin," the parts of the day that nothing else is planned for (we used to call this spare time). I had time to visit with friends, linger over dinner, look off into the distance with nothing else more important on my mind other than taking in the scene before me. I drew this piece to remind me that margin in your life is important, and that we should guard that precious time with friends and family, long dinner conversations and those moments of taking in the landscapes in front of us.

This drawing will also be featured in Robert's upcoming instructional book "Draw Realistic Animals: Wildlife, Pets & More," published by North Light Books and slated for release in June 2014.

For more information about the exhibition or the Bennington Center for the Arts please call them at 802.442.7158 or visit them online at


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thirty Three, Part 1

A conservation project in the making...

Over the last two weeks I have been working with a producer to create a unique video for a project that I hope will raise $1650 for African Wildlife Trust to help in the anti-poaching campaign for elephants. Below is our "test" video of my current piece on the drawing board, "Three Camels." We still have some issues to resolve especially a consistent light source which means I will probably have to block my window for the duration of this project but it for a good cause.

This project will raise $1650  through  the sale of a special Conservation Limited Edition print and DVD package that my producer and myself are collaborating on. I will have more details coming out in the next two-three weeks but to give you a bit of the idea behind this, there will be only 33 prints. Through this campaign I personally hope to raise $1650 and then have a call to action that will raise an additional $1650 in contributions to AWT that will total $3300. This represents the 33 elephants a day that are killed in Tanzania along.