Above is “Taking Flight”, an original pastel painting of two whooping cranes taking off in a marsh on a summer afternoon. Visiting what had once been their habitat on Assateague Island, Virginia, I imagined what they might have looked like in the whispering marshes.
Studying a wild animal in its natural habitat is a reminder that the world does not revolve around us, that these creatures get along just fine (and probably better) without us, that we are really only one more species carrying out our lives on Earth. And while, for me, the inspiration to put an image on paper is always primarily a visual inspiration, wild animals carry the same emotional inspiration as domestic pets—animals are so un-selfconscious. Add to that the beauty of a natural landscape and you’ve got a perfect recipe for visual pleasure.
I have traveled too little to see any real wildlife aside from the critters who inhabit my suburban garden, but the Pittsburgh Zoo is quite an impressive place of natural habitat and we also have conservation sites to visit in the western part of Pennsylvania where endangered species are kept in hopes they’ll breed enough to carry on their species. I also read many magazines and visit websites to learn about these species and reference pictorial resources.
Many years ago I saw two captive whooping cranes, likely at the Pittsburgh Zoo. I marveled at their size—they were nearly as tall as me! But it was when one of them spread its wings that I was truly enchanted by the pure white body, neat brown wing tips and tiny touches of yellow highlight here and there, and the grace of that huge bird.
And I read about them and discovered their plight, having no idea they were so imperiled, I remembered again that visit to Assateague Island.
What would their afternoon have been like? Using my photos of those marshes and many images of whooping cranes, I painted this in pastel, trying to capture the details that had stayed with me at seeing them, and also the feeling of movement in the marshes I had visited, the waving sedges, lapping water and constant breeze from the ocean.
And those summer colors, blue sky reflected on the water, reflected on the cranes.
The painting is 23″ wide x 15″ high, matted with a 4″ warm cream acid-free mat with 1/4″ burnished gold wood fillet edging and 1-1/4″ burnished gold frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.
In July, 2011 I’ve reduced the price from $400 to $300 to make sure the whooping cranes find a place in someone’s home or office, and to make room for more artwork.
I also offer this as a digital print and a giclee.
You can find this painting in my Etsy shop under “Original Art” along with a number of other wildlife paintings.