Artists for Conservation – Silent Skies Mural

Silent Skies” is an international collaborative super-mural mosaic featuring all 678 endangered species of birds of the world. 160 AFC artists from 15 countries participated in the project. The 100-ft installation formed the artistic centerpiece of the 27th International Ornithological Congress in August 2018 in Vancouver, BC, after which, the mural will tour internationally. Below are the three species I contributed to the mural, Shore Plover (New Zealand), Meller’s Duck (Madagascar), and Mindoro Hornbill (Philippines). Each painting is 8 inches by 8 inches. You can read more about the “Silent Skies”  project on the AFC website by clicking here. A limited number of canvas giclee prints will be available for purchase from the AFC website as well.

Silent Skies

I think my favorite is the Mindoro Hornbill. I always wanted to paint a hornbill and this was the perfect reason to do so.

I want to thank three photographers who so graciously allowed me to use their images for reference, Mike Thorsen (Shore Plover); Dubi Shapiro (Meller’s Duck) and Tonji Ramos (Mindoro Hornbill).

Ted Vigil – John Denver Tribute Artist

Ted Vigil and I at Jan 2018 Tribute to John Denver Concert

John Denver was my hero. Not only could he sing, he was a champion for the environment.

One of the world’s most admired performers, Denver was equally recognized for his commitment to global environmental and ecological problems. Among many other tributes given him, he was the recipient of The Presidential World Without Hunger Award, The National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award and the Albert Schweitzer Music Award, esteemed for its intrinsic humanitarian values. He was also an advisor to the prestigious Wildlife Conservation Society, headquartered at New York’s Bronx Zoo, and was on the Board of Directors and advisory boards of many international environmental organizations.

I was so saddened when John passed away, not only because there would be no more songs sung by him, but because we lost a voice that even today, had he lived, at 74, would have weighed heavily against the current administration’s treatment of our special places, like ANWR, Bears Ears, and our public lands.

Ted Vigil is a singer-songwriter in his own right, but he is also someone who can sing a Denver song and make you believe you are listening to John Denver himself. It’s no surprise that people quietly gasp when he walks on stage – you believe you’ve just seen a ghost. And then he starts singing – and what a trip THAT is. I am not a “concert goer” but his was one concert I wanted to attend. I snatched up two tickets (took my son with me) and I’m incredibly glad I did. He sang all the beloved Denver songs, plus a special song he wrote as a tribute to John Denver. It was a sold-out performance! If you get the chance to go see him in concert – DO IT! You won’t be disappointed.

Click the link to go to his website.  Ted Vigil


Requiem for a Lion – Requiem aeternam

2048As long as I live, I will never understand how killing an animal just so you can chop off its head and mount it on your wall can be considered anything but barbaric. Some of you may have heard about the firestorm over the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by a trophy hunter from Minnesota, Dr. Walter Palmer.

The beloved lion of Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe revered for his jet black mane, was lured out of the safety of the park, and only injured by the arrow from Dr. Palmer’s compound bow. Palmer and his guides tracked Cecil for about two days before he was killed with a gun, conservation officials said. He was beheaded and skinned, his corpse left to rot. So far the investigation has revealed that – contrary to what Dr. Palmer claims – there was no license for the hunt and it was ruled an illegal kill by Zimbabwe officials. Dr. Palmer’s guide and outfitter in Zimbabwe have been arrested and face charges of poaching. Authorities there and here want to speak to Dr. Palmer, who has thus far, not made himself available.

Palmer’s exploits in Africa and the US have been widely shared thanks to social media. And this isn’t his first run-in with the law over his hunting practices. He has a felony conviction stemming from a 2006 killing of a black bear in Wisconsin after lying to authorities about killing the bear outside of a legal hunting zone.

I can only hope that the death of this lion has shed much needed light on the barbaric “rich-man’s sport” of trophy hunting, but equally important, the exploitation of wildlife for “sport,” and the poaching and illegal ivory trade that threatens the very existence of many of the great icons in Africa and elsewhere. Extinction is forever.

Although I welcome comments on this post please know that all comments are moderated before they are posted. I ask that you keep them civil and on point.