Artists for Conservation Annual Exhibit

In 2009 I became a juried member of an exemplary group of international artists who, through their art, help support the conservation of wildlife and natural resources worldwide. Artists for Conservation holds a multi-day art and environmental education festival, featuring a world-class conservation themed juried art exhibit and expo in Vancouver, British Columbia. I have submitted my work to the jury for the art exhibit only twice. I was accepted for the virtual exhibit (website only) in 2011, and I’m happy to say that this year (my second time to submit), I was accepted for the live exhibit in Vancouver, BC in September. “What Was That” is a 14 x 18 acrylic painting of a Canada lynx. The lynx is also native to the state of Illinois where I live, so rather than a typical western setting, i.e., mountains etc., I choose a more Midwestern background for the painting.


There were 85 pieces from 80 artists chosen by the jury for the live exhibit in Vancouver while the virtual (online) exhibit will feature 200 pieces from 143 artists. I am honored that my work was chosen by the jury for AFC’s prestigious annual event. Thanks to the jurors whose task, I’m sure, was a difficult one!

  • Brent Cooke – Artist and AFC Board Member;
  • Michael Dumas – Artist and AFC Member;
  • Pollyanna Pickering – Artist and AFC Board Member;
  • Holly Swangstu – Art Institute Director, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum;
  • Debra Usher – Publisher & Editor in Chief, Arabella Magazine

Pieces chosen for the traveling exhibit and award winners will be announced soon.

“Summer Fun” – Whitetail Fawns

Whitetail FawnsIt seems I didn’t follow up on the work in progress for this little painting so here is the finished piece. Originally it was on a 12 x 16 canvas, but I decided to make it a 12 x 12 inch. This is the final painting – a minimal style that showcases the fawns. There is a larger photo in the Mammals gallery. © Marti Millington 2016

“The Hunt Begins” Juried Into IAA 2015 Wildlife Art Show

Canada Lynx

The Hunt Begins

The Hunt Begins” has been awarded 2nd Place – Water Media at the Irving Art Association’s 2015 Juried Wildlife and Domestic Animal Art Exhibit in Irving, Texas.

This is one of my larger paintings – 18 x 24 inches – and features a Canada Lynx in a winter scene. The lynx wasn’t the most time-consuming part of this painting – it was actually the snow! There is a lot of snow! I photographed the lynx at Animals of Montana while there for a workshop in 2000.

The show will feature wild and domestic animals in oil, water media, pastel, pencil, and photography. Many thanks to juror, Helen Bailey, for selecting my work for an award!

The show opens on August 30th at the Association’s gallery, Jaycee Park Center for the Arts, 1975 Puritan Dr. Irving TX 75062 with a reception and awards ceremony on September 13th from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. To see a preview of the exhibit, visit Irving Art Association’s blog by clicking here.  To learn more about juror Helen Bailey, you can visit her website by clicking here

Shades of Gray – St. Augustine 6th Annual Nature & Wildlife Art Exhibit

Shade of Gray

Shades of Gray has been juried into the St. Augustine 6th Annual Nature and Wildlife Art Exhibition. The exhibit will be held at the St. Augustine Art Association Art Center, St. Augustine, Florida. The opening reception and awards ceremony will kick off the exhibit on July 25th, and the exhibit will run through August 31, 2015.

Shades of Gray is a 12 x 16 painting of a gray wolf created in acrylic on black canvas. The only “color” in the painting are the wolf’s eyes. Reference photos for this painting were taken at Animals of Montana.

Back at the Easel


It has been over a year since I painted anything. Several personal life events, a lot of confusion, and uncertainty about my skills as an artist, have all kept me from even thinking about painting. The passion for painting had disappeared. It wasn’t fun anymore – it was more of a chore. Artists are full of self-doubt, and while we may receive tons of positive reinforcement, there is always one who constantly comes at us with negative critiques that adversely impacts our self-confidence.  I was far too focused on whether my work was “good enough.” And listening much too much to that “voice.” I had a long talk with myself, and came to the conclusion that the negativism wasn’t about me, my work, or helping me to advance. It was about that person’s own insecurities.

Steve Jobs said it best:  “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

And he’s right! The only way I’m going to improve is to stop listening to the naysayers, and pay more attention to the people who are TRULY trying to help me grow – and there are many of them. I found a sketch and reference photos that I have always wanted to paint. And what a joy it is to be painting again! It’s exhilarating too that, instead of looking at my painting and thinking if it will be “good enough” for this or that exhibit, I look at it and ask myself, is that the right color, the correct attitude I want, etc. I find that I am much more focused on the actual act of painting, itself.

The painting above is a Bobcat that I’m currently working on. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve progressed quite a bit on it. I just can’t post it yet, as it will give away the “surprise.” The painting is done in acrylic, and is 11 x 14 inches. And it such a pleasure to be Back at the Easel!



Urban Wildlife – Whitetail Deer Fawns

Can I get an “Awwww” ? This pair of whitetail deer fawns were regulars in my back yard from the time they were born and their mother let them come up from the ravine to play. They ran all over my yard and my neighbor’s yard, chasing each other and just having fun. The following summer, they, their mother, and a new set of fawns came up to visit. The third year, the doe only had one fawn, but all of them were in the yard at different times, enjoying the berries, leaves and even parts of my garden.

Whitetail Fawns

Whitetail Fawns

Wildlife of Sedona

Well, there just wasn’t much “wildlife” to be seen in Sedona, except for these little lizards, that were everywhere. I photographed this Spotted Whiptail Lizard early one morning as I was photographing the beautiful view just outside Sedona. On that cool morning, all he wanted to do was warm himself in the sun! These little creatures were everywhere! I even had one in my motel room. He didn’t eat much, didn’t complain, or take up much space – so I let him stay.

Spotted Whiptail Lizard

Spotted Whiptail Lizard

Black Chinned Hummingbird

I attended an art fair in Salida, Colorado in 2009. Outside our motel room there were several hummingbird feeders. Early one morning I was able to photograph these little birds as they fed from one of the feeders. We have ruby throated hummingbirds in Central Illinois where I live but I haven’t been able to get a really good picture of one of them.

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a habitat generalist, found in the western United States in lowland deserts and mountainous forests, and in natural habitats and very urbanized areas as long as there are tall trees and flowering shrubs and vines.

Black Chinned Hummingbird

Black Chinned Hummingbird

Urban Wildlife – Coyote

This coyote was a regular visitor to my back yard in 2007. My property was surrounded by a deep ravine with a creek below, but we were also on the corner of two busy streets. Every evening or very early morning, he would come up from the ravine and hunt around in the bushes for moles, voles and mice. It was so much fun to watch him each day. He never came close to the deck, but he could see us sitting on the bench and didn’t seem to mind our presence, as long as we sat still.



Bell’s Landing – Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

About an hour’s drive from my home is a place called “Bell’s Landing.” Its part of a wildlife preserve but folks are allowed to fish there with certain restrictions. I like to go there because of sights like this. The day I photographed this Great Blue Heron was quite windy as you can see from the raised feather patches on his body. Both he and I were fighting to stand in the strong wind and I was lucky not to get blown over as I tried to capture this bird with my camera.