Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Custodian" selected for Birds in Art 2013



“Birds in Art 2013”
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Wausau, Wisconsin
September 7–November 10, 2013


"Custodian (Ruppell’s Vulture)"
Graphite Pencil on Arches #300 watercolor paper
10 x 17

Robert is extremely honored to announce that his drawing “Custodian (Ruppell’s Vulture)" has been selected to appear at the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’sBirds in Art” 2013 exhibition. The exhibit will run from September 7–November 10, 2013, at Wausau, Wisconsin, museum.

Organized annually since 1976 by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, “Birds in Art” presents the very best contemporary artistic interpretations of birds and related subject matter. Each year, a jury selects approximately 100 works to take part in the exhibit. This year, 605 artists from around the world submitted 974 pieces of art. Robert is one of 94 juried artists selected for the exhibit; the show will also include the work of nearly 20 master wildlife artists. This year’s new master artist is fellow artist, mentor and friend Terry Miller, a master in graphite pencil and composition.
“Some would call this an ugly bird,” Robert said of his selected piece. “I see a majestic bird, a bird perched on its throne, a king looking out upon its vast lands. Although it’s not a kingdom that many would want to reign over, its kingdom is that of the custodian. They maintain order by keeping things clean.
During his 2012 visit to Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, Africa, Robert took a game drive near Silale Swamp. “We drove that day through two heavy rains and had just broken through the rain front and were coming down the backside of a hill near the swamp when I saw a large bird perched in a dead acacia tree,” he said.
“At this point in the day, it’s quiet. There aren’t many animals out, and trees are sparse around the swamp. But there was this Ruppell’s Vulture just perched elegantly in the upper branches of the barren tree. The backend of the rain clouds gave the sky a light even tone that stretched across the backdrop of the vulture and its throne. It just seemed like such a powerful setting for what can be perceived as such an unwanted position, king or custodian.”
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 Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, please visit them online at lywam.org.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

“Kutokua Na Hatia” selected for Art and the Animal


I am very honored to announce that my new drawing “Kutokua Na Hatia (Colobus Monkey)” has been selected for the prestigious Society of Animal Artists exhibition, Art and the Animal.

“Art and the Animal”
53rd Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists
Bennington Center for the Arts
Bennington, Vermont
August 31 - October 31, 2013
Graphite Pencil on Arches #300 watercolor paper
15 x 6

Robert’s drawing “Kutokua Na Hatia (Colobus Monkey)” has been selected to appear at the Society of Animal Artists exhibition “Art and the Animal,” August 31 through October 31, 2013, at the Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington, Vermont.

This is the society’s 53rd annual exhibition of the world’s best wildlife artists. The jury this year had the overwhelming task of selecting from 374 submissions by 234 artists.

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.

Inspired by his 2012 African safari, “Kutokua Na Hatia,” in Swahili, roughly translates to “innocence/free of guilt.” Robert spent the last day of his travels in Arusha National Park, which boasts many different animals than those he observed in the earlier part of his trip in Tarangire. The park’s habitat is almost jungle-like.

“I entered the park knowing that it served as home to black-and-white colobus monkeys, and I will admit I was really hoping that I would have the chance to see them,” he said.

Arusha National Park lies on the side of Mount Meru, an active volcano. As Robert and his guide made their way up the edge of the crater wall, they could see Mount Kilimanjaro through the tree canopy and just around a bend in the path, they spotted a grouping of colobus monkeys. The dense trees made it tricky for Robert to capture reference material but on his way down from the crater, he caught a glimpse of white.

“My guide, Jeremy, very excitedly turned to me and said something in Swahili and pointed up at the monkeys,” Robert said. “Even though I had been in the country for more than a week at this point and I felt like I was getting a grasp on the language, I had no idea what he said but I looked up and saw this little innocent face looking down at us. Baby colobus monkeys, I learned, are born with pure white fur but don't stay that way for long so I was extremely fortunate to have seen this little guy.”

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 Society of Animal Artists please visit them online at societyofanimalartists.com.