Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through sucessive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words. Aldo Leopold, "A Sand County Almanac"
In that split second of discovery- light casting shadows on a tree, a bird caught in a momentary perch, a wildlife garden full of Monarches, or a crane calling you to attention- the creative juices in me start flowing and down the road, a painting evolves. Watercolor gives me the glow of light I see in nature, but acrylics seem to give voice to certain other subjects. And above all, nature is inspiration for my inner life! The paintings below are on exhibit at the Urban Ecology Center- Riverside in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from October through December 2016. Visit: urbanecologycenter.org
Above: Spring Arrival, Sandhill Crane, 11 x 14" watercolor
Right: On Alert- Motherhood, Sandhill Cranes,
16 x 20" watercolor
Above: The Gathering, Sandhill Cranes (near the Wisconsin River before migration),
14 x 18" acrylic on canvas
Above: Teacher- Whooping Crane and Colt,
16 x 20" acrylic on canvas
Above: Unison Call- Whooping Crane, 12 x 16" watercolor
Above: On What Matters, 16 x 20" watercolor
On What Matters (Whooping Crane)
Sunkist day At Whooping Crane Pond, You strike a pose, Light Sliding down that thrilling curve Of neck, Time stops. I watch Your perfect geometry. Remember to breath A hope To your species. What matters Is all Our survival. Ellen McGaughey
Above: On What Matters II- Whooping Cranes,
8 x 10" watercolors
Above: Southbound- Whooping Crane, 11 x 14" watercolor
Southbound- Whooping Cranes
What blessing To have your bird brain, To feel an ancient urge For blue crab and salt water And fly south Carried by northern winds From snow and ice. What blessing To not know worry Of storms, gunshot and peril Aided by Human dedication To your survival. Ellen McGaughey
My competence to paint Whooping Cranes comes from my ability to observe them (old painter's saying- Paint what you know!). I am fortunate to live near Wisconsin River lowlands, 8 minutes from The International Crane Foundation and an hour from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge where I am free to observe, photograph and relish being a crane groupie!
If you visit southern Wisconsin, plan a visit to ICF where you will see all the cranes of the world in addition to my favorites1 Sandhills and Whoopers.
Ellen McGaughey Lake Delton, Wisconsin firstname.lastname@example.org