Normally I plan my projects well in advance. As I draw one subject, the back of my mind is already hunting for the next. My brain is always on the prowl. Forever searching for inspiration in any place it can find it. My hands greedily take it and draw, knowing where I would like a drawing to go.
Like the food snow leopards search for in a stark mountain landscape, inspiration is often elusive. It is blown off course by the wind of a strong storm. Whiteout conditions blind your vision. All you can see is a polar bear in a snowstorm because life steps in and hurls an obstacle into your path.
Dark, inspirationless days turn into sleepless nights. Drawings that want nothing more than to be realized haunt your dreams relentlessly. One dream, in particular, left the inside of my skull hurting as a temperamental black goat tried to poison my mind.
In the end, it seemed all he wanted was to be put on paper. Colored pencil layered over watercolor on a dark sheet of paper was all it took to banish him from my mind, him and that not so innocent smile he wears.
In depths of winter, I find myself thinking of warmer climates. The desert often comes to mind but the occasional foray into the jungle is equally tempting. I am reminded of many hikes through such places without a single encounter with a snake. Warnings about the dangers of those that slither met my ears, but I’ve never come across one on an adventure. Maybe next time.
This winter, an unusually mild one, also brought thoughts of those in the arctic. The large herd of Canadian caribou, whose numbers are on a slow decline, have stayed with me throughout the spring. I worry about them, as I do all the animals I draw. One caribou (and a hummingbird) became the centerpiece of the 2017 Earth Day drawing.
Even as I write this I know many are so tired of politics that hearing about Earth Day in our current political environment makes eyes roll. I do understand. I’m tired of it all too. That won’t stop me from trying to save our planet in what might already be a losing battle. I donate part of the proceeds of my animal drawing series to the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF works to fight the effects of climate change, protects endangered species, and works to keep less vulnerable animals from the same fate. If you would like to know more about the drawings I donate, visit my Etsy page. If you would like to read more about the WWF or donate to them directly, please visit their website.