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Public Lecture Series with Susan Fox, Alison Nicholls & the Flinn Gallery

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio

In a time when most people use cameras to capture images of the world and their travels, there are still artists who record what they’ve seen with pencil, brush and clay. Susan Fox FN'14, Alison Nicholls MR'09, Karryl, David Rankin & Sean Murtha, have come together to exhibit their work in Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, CT, providing the public with a rare opportunity to view art created in the field alongside the artists’ studio work. This lecture brings them together to talk about how and why they have chosen to work outdoors in Mongolia, Africa, the Himalayas, the Rocky Mountains, and along the Sound Shore. Besides the visual presentation, the artists will bring examples of their fieldwork and field materials.

“Painting, sketching and sculpting in the field is a different experience than being in the controlled comfort of the studio. Heat, cold, wind, rain, mosquitos and dust are just some of the conditions outdoor artists contend with. But the reward is an on-going creative immersion in the natural world, and a particular type of memory of what it was like out there that informs a field artist’s studio art in a way that working only from photographs never can. We remember what the day felt like, how the sun was warm on our backs, having to wear gloves because it was so cold, stepping in mud up to our ankles to get to the perfect spot, our excitement when a wild animal wandered by and checked us out or stayed put long enough for us to complete a sketch. We don’t mind the bugs stuck to the painting or having to shake the dirt out of our paintbox. Come along and hear how we work in the field and some of the good, bad and “interesting” experiences we have had along the way!” —Susan Fox

Susan Fox FN '14 lives on the north coast of California and is a Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists (Board of Directors 2010-2014), and a member of the Salmagundi Art Club, American Academy of Equine Art and Oil Painters of America. She holds a BFA Illustration from the Academy of Art University and studied with a variety of nationally and internationally known wildlife and plein air artists. She has participated in four Earthwatch Institute expeditions, the last one being an argali sheep (Ovis ammon) research project in Mongolia in the spring of 2005. She has travelled to Mongolia all but one year since then, exploring 14 of the 21 Aimags (states or provinces), including The Flaming Cliffs, where a member of Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expeditions (also TEC Flag Expeditions) found the first fossil dinosaur eggs. In 2012 Susan founded the WildArt Mongolia Expeditions, the mission of which is to find ways to use art to support conservation in Mongolia. She carried Explorers Club Flag 179 on her 2015 Expedition, her tenth journey to the Land of Blue Skies. Susan is the only American artist painting species like argali sheep, Siberian ibex, takhi/ Przewalski’s horse and eurasian black vultures. She consults with a number of biologists and researchers as needed to ensure the scientific accuracy of her depictions.

Alison Nicholls MR '09 is a member of the Salmagundi Club, Artists For Conservation, the Society of Animal Artists and a member of the Creative Board of Pencils For Africa. She lived in Botswana & Zimbabwe for a number of years and returns annually to sketch in the field and lead Sketching Safaris for Africa Geographic Magazine. Her Conservation Sketching Expeditions allow her to work closely with African conservation projects, visit them in the field, learn about their work and sketch on site. On return to the studio she creates a traveling exhibition and lecture series to raise awareness and funds for the conservation project. Alison is English by birth but has traveled widely and currently resides in Port Chester, New York.

Sculptor Karryl finds joy in “taking the time to study animals in their natural environment” in order to create pieces that “capture a moment in time.” She works in clay and casts in bronze after spending time observing, and whenever possible, interacting with her subjects. “Capturing the spirit of the moment” influences her loose, whimsical style, whether she is working in Africa or in the Rocky Mountains.

David Rankin calls his watercolor style “natural abstraction”, presenting realistic subjects from the Himalayas using "abstract design principles” found in nature. He advocates “working outdoors…directly from nature.” Describing his fieldwork, he says “I photograph, sketch and use my ipad to capture ideas. I study postures, facial expressions and reflections.” He allows the paper’s texture to suggest detail in his work stating ”transparent watercolor on rough paper is the most classic, effective, and elegant artistic medium in the world.”

Long Island Sound’s marshes, landscapes, and birdlife have provided Sean Murtha’s artistic inspiration. His naturalistic painting style reflects awareness of the way seasonal habitat changes affect landscape and light which, in turn, influence the behavior of regional inhabitants. Carrying binoculars and drawing supplies in his kayak, he finds unique vantage points for plein air sketching, then uses this field work to refine his studio paintings.

Date: Monday, April 4th

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price:

$5 with a valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a reservation, please email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call us at 212.628.8383.

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste