Posts tagged ‘Art and Nature’

The magical power of art inspired by nature

The past few months have not been easy.  Losing my father, after he suffered a long battle against cancer, has been a difficult and emotional time that has tinted my  life with sadness in the past year.   Trying to move E4C forward is also a constant battle, with funding in short supply to get projects off the ground, and rejection for innovative programmes becoming increasingly frustrating. On the business front, it’s a much tougher market place out there for service-based companies, making it harder and at times exhausting just to keep pace.  And to cap it all, whilst the recent crop of Bank Holidays has given me a well earned rest, it has meant that much of April has been written off as being unproductive. 

The culmination of all this left me feeling pretty down in the dumps until I started going through my Twitter feed this morning.  I’d even read on one of the postings that  “Twitter can make you happier”.  One of the ways it does this is by providing  a distraction which takes you away from your negative thoughts!  Well, it certainly did that, and my mood has been lifted tremendously by links to two blogs that have reminded me of the wonderful and magical power of art and nature. 

Art Discovery in Wales

The first Twitter discovery was an article and slideshow about a series of wall paintings that have been found in old toilet block due for demolition on a remote Welsh island off the Pembrokeshire coast.  Twitchers and other visitors there have documented sightings of rare birds by painting them on the walls.  Started in the 1960s, this practice continued for many years and there are now over 100 paintings.  Is this the modern equivalent of cave paintings?  Since the dawning of human consciousness, we have always felt the need to depict the world around us through art, and this is a wonderful example of this.  But what also lifted my spirits with this blog posting, is the story itself.  In an increasingly fast-paced world, and in a remote corner of the British Isles, a group of people have been quietly documenting the wild bird species in the most unlikeliest of places. 

To see the slideshow, follow the link:

The second posting I found on Twitter was a tweet that simply said:   “Sand Dancer – Enjoy!”  I was curious enough by this tweet to follow the link, and I’m so glad I did.  The Sand Dancer in question is artist, Peter Donnelly, who creates amazing “paintings” in the sand using a stick and a rake.  These are done on a large scale, and, by all accounts, he does not use plotting tools or visual perspective.  

When you are feeling down, seeing the passion with which someone else lives their life, in all its simplicity and self-belief, somehow inspires you with the motivation to face the day with a smile in your heart.

(Thank you to Eco Preservation Society for the original post)

I hope these two postings have the same effect on you, and bring a smile to your face too, and perhaps a little reflection on the wonders of nature, and the inspiration she gives us to use her as our muse.

May 5, 2011 at 7:50 am Leave a comment

A New Era for Wolves and People

A New Era for Wolves and People

Cover of new book

A New Era for Wolves and People was first conceptualised by Professor Marco Musiani following a wolf conference in Banff Canada in 2003.  The project did not get off the ground initially, but Marco never dropped the idea and at a another wolf conference in Colorado Springs in 2006 Marco asked if I would help him to produce the book, both as a contributor on conservation education and as project manager.

Marco recruited two other editors: Professors Luigi Boitani and Paul Paquet, both of whom are highly respected in the wolf conservation community and beyond, and who have been working in this field for a number of decades.

At that time we had no funding and no publisher, and it was my job to help with this part of the process.  In the meantime, Marco set about contacting wolf and conservation experts through the world to contribute to the book. 
Marco’s vision was to produce a book that was academically robust, a little controversial and which explored the various facets of what is now known as “human dimensions”, which is primarily concerned with dealing with the various human-wolf and human-human conflicts that arise as a result of both species living side by side. 

Wolf Drawing - by Su Shimeld

Wolf Drawing by Su Shimeld

Marco wanted the book to appeal to a wider audience and so we commissioned wildlife artist, Su Shimeld, to produce a series of beautiful and evocative pencil drawings which depict wolves in various settings and situations. 

Chapters for the book were soon written, edited and peer reviewed, and Marco then had the task of presenting to prospective publishers.  The University of Calgary Press were quick to realise the importance of this book, and immediately agreed to publish it.  However, the book had now become too large for one volume and the decision was taken to split it into two separate books which can be read individually, but which also have very strong links.  (The second book will be published in February 2010).

A New Era for Wolves and People has finally been published and will be launched here in the UK on Saturday 9th November at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust Autumn Open Day (  The UKWCT also supported the production of the book and it is fitting that the UK launch be held among our eight ambassador wolves at the UKWCT Centre in Reading. 

Copies of A New Era for Wolves and People can be purchased directly from the UKWCT and profits from the book will go towards supporting wild wolf conservation projects.

November 6, 2009 at 10:25 am 1 comment

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