Genesee Country Village & Museum

Mumford, NY



Naturally Drawn


During the Summer of 2000, opening August 12 and continuing through October 15, 2000,The John L. Wehle Gallery of Sporting Art, which contains one of the largest collections of sporting and wildlife art in North America, presents Naturally Drawn.

Sixty sketches -- in watercolor, pastel and other media -- were selected for this exhibition from among more than 350 in the permanent collection of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. Included are the works of Leo E. Osborne, Arthur B. Singer, Chris Bacon, Larry Barth and Don Eckelberry.

While wildlife artists must pay close attention to habitat and environment, their sketches help capture the personality of their subjects. The works in Naturally Drawn reflect the raw energy and creativity that exist at the beginning of every work of art. A sketch is personal reaction to what the artist is seeing, feeling and hearing in the field.

A number of the works in Naturally Drawn are pages torn from sketchbooks, which include the artist's field notes.

Wading Egrets is a preliminary sketch of a common egret used later by Andrea Rich for a woodcut. The drawing - when completed - is reversed and transferred to a wood block. Once transferred, the appropriate areas are carved out to create the design. Tracing paper makes the transfer easier for the artist. Rich's sketches are rarely detailed; the textures and intricacies are carved directly into the wood. Felt-tipped pens are used to gain an accurate idea of texture and color. (left: Andrea Rich (b. 1954), Wading Egrets, c. 1989, Felt-tipped pen and ink on tracing paper, 6 5/8 x 7 7/8 inches)

A comparison of these two study sketches of the American avocet highlights how valuable field studies can be. These drawings are accurate recordings of what was seen and experienced by Dave Sellers. The pencil sketch focuses on the beauty of the bird while the colored sketch concentrates on the mood of the surroundings. (left: Dave Sellers (b. 1962), Study for Resting Avocet at Moss Landing, January 1989, Pencil and acrylic on gessoed paperboard and pencil on paper, 5 x 17 1/2; 3 1/8 x 8 1/4 inches)

Thomas Quinn was able to take advantage of the untimely death of a five-day-old wood duck to execute this reference sketch. Working in watercolor enabled him to match the feather colors exactly. This type of reference material will prove valuable at a later time when a specimen might not be available for a color check. (left: Thomas Quinn (b. 1938), Young Wood Duck, June 1987, Gouache on prepared board, 121/2 x 81/2 inches)

This sketchbook page (see left) demonstrates two types of field sketches: quick, fragmented pencil drawings, and a more refined and complete color-pencil drawing. The latter enables John Perry Baumlin to record accurate bird coloration while the colors are still fresh in his mind. (left: John Perry Baumlin (b. 1956), Black-tkroated Green Warbler, May 11, 1986, Pencil and color pencil on Omni paper, 8 1/2 x 11 inches)

Specializing in sporting and wildlife art, the Gallery offers a wide range of commentary on natural history presented through the work of hundreds of internationally recognized artists and sculptors. Included are hundreds of paintings and sculptures portraying sport hunting and wildlife subjects, as well as a special collection of art and artifacts depicting life in the American Southwest.

Inside the Gallery visitors may explore the manner in which artists of four centuries have portrayed man as the hunter, master, companion, protector, and scientific observer of the birds and animals with which he shares the earth. In addition to the current special exhibits, the visitor may divide his or her time among eight principal galleries, exploring the broad range of styles, settings, and artistic traditions.

Read more about the Genesee Country Village & Museum in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2011 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.