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Terry Smith: Artist's Statement
Being a wildlife artist has been my life long dream. Painting is an all consuming passion and the love and awe I have for my subject matter drives me even more. I can only hope that my passion shows through in my finished work. I strongly believe that the majority of the human race has forgotten, if not ignored, the importance of wildlife as well as their connection to the other life on this planet. When we do get to see wildlife in its natural state we only catch fleeting glimpses and not enough to really 'see'. Not many of us are lucky enough to either see or to even recognize the stories and treasures the natural world has left behind; the intertwining trails in the snow from a pair of courting foxes, the frozen footprints of a Great Horned Owl walking on ice, two Great Blue Herons fighting, Ravens flying together in courtship, the wing prints in snow from an owl or hawk pouncing on a mouse or the myriad of untrackable trails left in the melting snow by Martens looking for mates.
I started painting feathers as illustrations to my own private hiking journal. As I sat in a lean-to and painted a handful of feathers I found from a fox kill, I was filled with awe at the simplicity and the complicated beauty of a single feather. From that point I began to have an even greater appreciation for the natural world. Birds, for example Pigeons and Hawks, have the same wing feather count and layout yet the feathers and the wing shape are different. Though they both fly, they fly differently for different purposes i.e.: one hunts, one flies to escape and survive. As a wildlife artist it is these intricacies that I am able to capture and share with the viewer, allowing them more than a fleeting moment to appreciate the natural world. I hope that my work touches people in a way that increases both our respect and understanding of our part in nature.
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