Rapturous Raptor Art; Winter Yearnings

Boreal Owl III 10 x 8" oil on gessoboard - L. C. Riddell

Support in kind; a new kind.

Jackson painter Lee Carlman Riddell is fascinated with birds; she’s been painting her signature hummingbird paintings for some time, and more recently began showing her paintings of owls. Carlman, long a close observer and protector of wildlife, transmits her feelings about her subjects tenderly and distinctly. She knows a creature’s anatomy, spirit and biology. Now, a favorite subject and a cause dear to the artist’s heart have merged in an exhibit of Carlman’s paintings of Boreal Owls at Wilson, Wyoming’s Teton Raptor Center.

“Years ago Roger Smith and Margaret Creel Smith cared for injured raptors in their back yard, and Ed (Riddell) and I helped them check around for frozen mice to keep the birds fed,” says the artist.

Roger Smith went on to rehabilitate injured birds of prey at Three Creek Ranch; he phoned the Riddells, inviting them to come see the two Boreals he planned on releasing. Smith had been nursing the birds back to health since they’d fallen from their downed aspen tree nest as small chicks. Lee sketched, while Ed photographed the birds. Now, Lee Riddell’s early drawings have inspired paintings of the owls. The paintings are for sale, and half of sale proceeds benefit the Raptor Center.

“The idea was generated by Lee, who called one day offering to give us a portion of the proceeds from her artwork for three Boreal Owl images, and she suggested we hang them at TRC and try selling them on site,” says the Center’s Executive Director Amy Brennan McCarthy. “This spawned an idea on our end to experiment with having a featured artist each season, and we would display several raptor-inspired pieces at TRC.”

Boreal Owl II 12 x 9'' oil on canvas - L. C. Riddell

With limited space, large exhibits are not possible, but with thousands of annual visitors, TRC exposes raptor-inspired art to a great deal of people. TRC is also using other media venues to showcase artwork. TRC is currently reaching out to interested artists about showcasing their raptor renderings. At this writing, one of three Riddell paintings has already sold.

Dedicated space for artists painting a subject visitors are specifically present to see is ideal. McCarthy invites any interested artists practicing any genre to call TRC for a chat. My guess is that work will be carefully juried.

“It’s a great way to support avian artists and the Raptor Center,” says Riddell.

 http://www.tetonraptorcenter.org/featured-artist.html  www.leeriddell.com

It’s winter, so I am exercising my right to explore all kinds of topics. Have you ever heard of “Sehnsucht?”

Sehnsucht describes a deep emotional state, with many interpretations, depending on the culture defining it. A friend sent a description taken from an on-line site. Boiled down, the word refers to “ardent longing or yearning,” or, simply, looking for happiness.

“Such feelings are usually profound, and tend to be accompanied by both positive and negative feelings. It is sometimes felt as a longing for a far-off country, but not a particular earthly land which we can identify. There is something in the experience which suggests this far-off country is very familiar and indicative of what we might otherwise call “home.” [Usually] people who experience it are not conscious of what or who the longed for object may be, and the longing is of such profundity and intensity that the subject may immediately be only aware of the emotion itself and not cognizant that there is a something longed for.”

Artists, I know you can identify.

From Rumi: “Your boundaries are your quest.”




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