Wildlife Calendar Artists
Bonnie Marris has been studying and painting wolves, foxes, dogs and horses since childhood. She remembers her family home as a refuge for anyone in trouble, human or animal. Always, when Marris wasn’t around animals, she was painting them and this love led her to pursue degrees in zoology and animal behavior, studying predictors (wolves, big cats, bears, and foxes).
Bonnie also wants to let viewers see each animal she paints as an individual, to connect with its soul. “We all know that our dogs and cats have personalities and their own ways of being,” she says. “Well, this is also true of grizzlies, of horses, of wolves—all nature’s creatures. Once in Alaska, about thirty yards from my campsite, one wolf from a pack of twenty got down on her front elbows and wagged her tail at me in play mode.
Studying color and light, Marris says, has become an obsession with her. “Color sets a mood, an atmosphere that can create feelings ranging from contentment to terror. There are colors within colors, too. The many colors in a shadow, for instance, convey cold or heat. The way light plays with the subject is also very important. Light may dance across snow or water, then lead the eye through the thick fur of a wolf’s neck or flash in the corner of a cougar’s eye.
The passion Bonnie Marris has for wilderness, for animals and for light and color come together in her art and she feels her work has accomplished its purpose when a viewer feels that same passion.
Daniel Smith, one of America’s foremost nature artists, enjoys wide acclaim for his spectacular depictions of landscape and wildlife.
He lives in the mountains of southwest Montana where artistic inspiration surrounds him. Smith has been painting full time for over twenty years and has had over 100 of his paintings reproduced as limited edition prints. He began his career designing conservation stamps. He has designed over thirty stamps including the 1988-89 Federal Duck Stamp and was recently selected as Ducks Unlimited International Artist of the Year for the second time.
The detail and scientific accuracy of Smith’s art caught the eyes of organizations such as the National Geographic Society, who commissioned him to paint five color plates for “The Field Guide to the Birds of North America”, and the prestigious “Birds in Art” exhibition sponsored by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. In 1996 he was inducted into the “U.S. Art Hall of Fame” due to his great popularity among print collectors.
Smith travels frequently to research his subjects in their natural habitat. He believes there is no substitute for personal experience in the field. He has had a lifetime fascination with Africa saying, “The primal strife between predator and prey makes me feel like I have stepped back in time. It is like no other ecosystem in the world.”
Smith is also an ardent supporter of wildlife conservation. He feels indebted to the natural world that has provided him with the sole inspiration for his award-winning career.
Christopher B. Walden
Christopher B. Walden, originally from Auckland New Zealand, came to the States in 1979 for what was supposed to be a 30 day tour. Thirty-six years later he is still here and in the meantime has become a nationally known wildlife artist. Chris’ passion for the outdoors began at a very early age. Growing up in New Zealand, Chris was able to experience everything outdoors from working on a sheep farm to sailing the South Pacific. From these experiences Chris was able to gain knowledge of nature and the life that inhabits the “bush” and the water. He is an avid outdoorsman who likes to go fishing, be it in lakes and streams for trout or on a yacht trying to catch marlin and “kingies”. He brought his passion of the outdoors to the States. His thirst for knowledge about these new environments and inhabitants inspired him to capture them in his paintings.
Chris’ very realistic style and his ability to capture life in the animal kingdom have endeared him to many collectors around the world. Chris prefers to show the viewer a story of how life is in the wild.
Chris feels the need to give back to the lands and animals he paints by making sure that they are still around for many generations to come to enjoy. To accomplish this mission Chris has teamed up with several conservation groups in the US to lend his talents to help raise money and awareness to preserve the habitats that are in danger. Through donations of artwork in the past 30 years Chris has helped raise over 28 million dollars for conservation.
Combining his passion for creating art and protecting wildlife, Chris and his work reach a singular place. The artwork of Chris Walden vibrantly portrays the passion and beauty of the natural world. The untamed wildlife featured in his work evokes the mystery and turbulence of creation. Viewers are challenged to experience the essence of the natural world in it most raw form.