Wildlife Inspiration: Wolf Mountain Nature Center

Inspiration, Travel

IMG_3478Anyone who follows this site knows that I am inspired by nature and, more specifically, wildlife. I love animals.

This weekend I decided to go out with Andy and members of his family to find some wildlife inspiration, spending time exploring one of Central New York’s wildlife gems: the Wolf Mountain Nature Center.

Currently home to 13 wolves (plus two new pups!), four coyotes and handful of arctic foxes, I can’t say enough great things about this organization. The grounds are beautiful, hidden atop a picturesque hill in CNY, the staff is overwhelmingly friendly and their mission is honorable and strong, focused on protecting wolves and teaching visitors the beauty of wildlife and the importance of conserving it.

Our group spent a solid two hours exploring the grounds, walking to each enclosure where we were introduced to residents and given new tidbits of information by the awaiting staff members. Aside from learning a lot about the organization, its residents and the wild canine species, the best (although admittedly surprising) part of the visit was how friendly the wildlife was.

With most of the animals being born at the Center, they are all used to human contact, a trait that is critical in regard to medical treatment. Although you won’t get to pet a wolf on your visit, you will definitely get to see them up close and personal as they come up to the fences to check you out.

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Inspired by these encounters, I’m already in the midst of planning my next visit to the Mountain! There’s nothing quite like seeing the beauty of a wild animal, content in a humane and conservation-focused environment to warm your heart and inspire you in the best of ways.

If you’re an animal-lover such as myself, then Wolf Mountain is a resounding must-visit. To learn more about the Center and its residents click¬†here.

The Fox and the Hare

Art

So I started this project a while ago, back when the big snowstorm hit the Northeast in March. As I watched the snow come pouring down by the foot, I turned my artistic eye to the future of spring and warm weather, and landed upon the idea of another fox-inspired piece, this time in my current media of choice: colored pencil.

As long as I can remember, the fox has always been one of my favorite animals. In fact, at a young age I used to beg my parents to buy me a fox costume similar the one worn by one of the lost boys in Disney’s “Peter Pan!”

The drawing you see now is the result of a combination of this fox-love and an image that inspired me on Pinterest.

Andy laughs every time I show him this drawing, reminding me that foxes and lagomorphs don’t play well together, and pointing out that the photograph I found was probably featuring a predator sleeping with its prey. Despite this bit of scientific fact, I wanted my drawing to display the opposite, providing viewers with a sense of tranquility.

Looking upon this piece, I wanted people to believe that these two creatures could be curled up together in the forest, not as diner and dinner, but as unlikely friends.

I can only hope that the radial symmetry, texture and color palette of this drawing have had this desired effect. I know that this piece certainly helped me through a storm (literally) and it might even find its way into my office space at work.

Spirited: New Series

Art

I’ve been waiting for a new series idea to come to me for a long time. Probably one of the most challenging aspects about being an artist is finding inspiration. In fact, part of the reason I started this blog was to inspire myself and others by ¬†sharing creations and inspiring places, media and recipes.

Recently, Andy and I were watching “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Although probably my least favorite installation in the series, I have always been inspired by the scene that showcases the DA (Dumbledore’s Army) learning how to cast a Patronus charm.

The spell that has come to the forefront of all Harry Potter witchcraft, the Patronus charm defends again dementors and for every witch or wizard, takes the form of a different animal.

tumblr_inline_nvs2kwqehg1stluio_500Thinking about partonuses and spirit animals, I landed upon the idea of creating a series of mixed media pieces, featuring different ghostly animals. Whether the animals are ghosts or the result of magic, I cannot say. All I know is the vision that I have.

Beginning of a new series. #mixedmedia #art #paint #sketch #fox #ghost #theperpetualcreator

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Right now, that vision entails white, ethereal animals painted onto fabric and embossed with embroidery. I hope to machine embroider white wisps of thread trailing from the animals. The first animal is a fox, as I have always loved these animals and thought that, were I to have a spirit animal, it would probably be some species of fox.

Although I started this piece a while ago, I am just now ready to proceed into the embroidery phase. Painting onto untreated cotton, I needed to put down numerous layers of paint before I was able to achieve the opacity I was looking for.

Ready to start #embroidering. #textileart #fox #spirit #newseries #paint #markers

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I’m looking forward to embroidering, as I know that will pull the piece together, adding details and movement to the composition.

Stay tuned for the final result!

The Fox and the Feathers

Art

Fibernation post #4! So far, I have given you two different embroidery-oriented posts. Today’s post is an example of something I have become a huge fan and practitioner of: mixed media.

As I have mentioned before, I do not have my own studio. What I do have is a kitchen table.This means that I am always looking for house-friendly forms of art. While there are many different forms of mixed media, one of my favorites has grown out of the combination of paint, ink, fabric and embroidery.

The piece that I am featuring today was made from fabric, markers, paint and thread and is titled “The Fox and the Feathers.”


Although foxes have become trendy over the last couple of years, they have always been one of my favorite animals. I loved them so much in fact, that as a child I begged my parents for a fox costume, not unlike the one worn by one of Peter Pan’s lost boys. Inspired by this animal, this piece came together relatively quickly, only taking a couple of hours from start to finish.


Having drawn the feathers and the fox in black marker, I was able to smear and smudge the ink using white acrylic paint and a rubbing technique with a paint brush. By doing so, I was able to create a sense of depth and form that was lacking in the line drawing.

I finished the piece by using my sewing machine to embroider over two of the feathers. While I had considered embroidering the fox, I did not want to clutter the piece, so I only added embroidery to his ears. I am quite fond of the simple composition and did not want to ruin it.

¬† Another reason I love this piece is because it reminds me of what art is really about: creativity. There are those in the art world who believe mixed media is a cop-out, and that if you are a true artist then you should be able to communicate through a single medium. I, however, believe the opposite. To limit one’s creativity, in media choice or otherwise, is to limit the whole purpose of art.

So whether you are creating in one media, or two, or ten, it doesn’t much matter, so long as you are creating.