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Putting both the 'wild' and the 'life' back into animal art

Typical field sketch from isolated Australian sealion colony.
Observing and sketching from life in nature is something many artists find too demanding. After all the animals can't be contained or manipulated in their own home environment and it is only possible to meet the subject on its own terms.

Strangely Steve has always found this to be an artistically liberating experience..... "You have to react on the animal's own terms leaving your ego home and it will usually present you with opportunities you never expected....When an artist is working from life there are no props and no excuses and no time...there is just you, the subject, a pencil and a pad..... at that point you either measure up, or you donít!"

Nothing like meeting with your subject
Yes there is nothing quite like coming face to face with your critters to bring life to your art..... sometimes a little more risky than others. In this case Steve is going hand to hand with a Tasmanian devil.!! Fortunately its only a baby and doesn't yet have the powerful bite of the adult that can shear the leg bone of a horse. This little fella although willing can barely break the skin of Steve's finger.

Echidna sketch
Steve has enjoyed many trips to spend time with Echidna researchers Dr Peggy Rismiller and Mike McKelvey on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. These trips have helped him come to terms with this amazing species in a way that many artists do not.....As someobody has said, "you cant preserve something you dont love and you cant love something you dont understand".....As Peggy Rismiller once said to Steve (who was at the time wrestling bare armed with this intractable animal in the midst of a vicious clump of prickly acacia)..."Now youre learning about Echidnas!!"

The eyes are undoubtably the most critical
The eyes are the dominant sense for us and are also quite critical for owls in their hunt for prey. The Barking owl from Australia has somewhat unnerving yellow eyes when seen up close.....closer than a mouse would prefer!!

Flying foxes - Cape York, Queensland
And sometimes field work involves long periods of just hanging around.......

Direct Correspondence to:Steve Morvell
Steve Morvell
c/o Steve Morvell Wildlife Art
159 Grampians road
Halls Gap, Victoria
Australia 3381
Tel: +61 3 53564820
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  Worldwide Nature Artists Group
Email: steve@stevemorvell.com
Home Page: http://www.stevemorvell.com
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Member of the Artists for Conservation Foundation www.natureartists.com.