Let me digress a bit today from the 'normal' course of postings to be able to join thousands of others from all across the globe who will be posting today in honor of 'Blog Action Day', a day to offer support, concern and personal thoughts on the environment.
Being an artist whose thrust is, at least 80% of the time I would say, portraying the natural world and its inhabitants, I have long been someone with concerns about the world around me. These concerns have often played themselves out in my work in hopes that others might feel the same concerns for our surroundings and those animals that have, often, been forced to struggle for life and living space in competition with the ever increasing sprawl of the human animal.
I feel great joy when others often times will find the subtext if you will, of a given work of mine and zero in on the idea behind the composition. I don't often have an 'agenda' very specifically spelled out in a work, but frequently, as a result I may assume from all my years of being a supporter of environmental concerns, ideas and thoughts about nature and its struggle to survive in our ever complicated world just seem to work their way into a composition without my being consciously aware of it.
The continent of Africa and the struggles there between the ever increasing populations all around that continent and the native populations of animals, has been a major focus of my work ever since my first trip there in the early 1970s. Over six subsequent returns to Africa in the following thirty years, I saw first hand, much of the spread of population centers and the clearing of formerly uninhabited areas for agricultural purposes, forcing the elephants and zebra and carnivores to 'make do' if you will, with ever narrowing circles of habitat. As positive an undertaking of setting aside large areas of land for the sole living space of wild animals has been in many of the countries of East and South Africa, conflicts have inevitably arisen, especially in the last twenty years or so.
By reconnecting with my African memories in this last week or so and embarking on a series of works based upon my times on that very special soil, I hope to be able to present a number of pieces, next month at the Waterfowl Festival and in several of my galleries that will be doing special showings in November, which will in some way reach out to others and perhaps touch someone in some way that will be reflected in their desire to become involved, in whatever small way they might, in support of and concern for the animals of this planet that have fallen under the blanket of our protection for future generations.
With the recent honor of my being named one of the African Wildlife Foundation's 'Artists for Africa' and the very kind and positive article that appeared in the spring 2007 edition of Africa Geographic magazine (as noted and discussed in an earlier posting here on this blog) I have decided that I will donate a portion of my proceeds from the sale of these African works that will be completed over the next three or four weeks to the causes that AWF fights for. I would urge any of the readers of this blog and specifically this posting on 'Blog Action Day', to take a look at the Foundation's web site (www.awf.org) and see what fine work they are involved in and, if of a mind to, make a donation on this very important day. When large groups of people work together toward a single purpose, things happen!