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The AFC Conservation Artist Award is awarded monthly to honour a member for outstanding artistic talent and extraordinary contribution to the conservation cause. At the end of each year, a prior recipient of the monthly honour is selected for the annual Simon Combes Conservation Award.

The Simon Combes Conservation Award was created by the AFC in February 2005 to honour Combes' memory. Combes, world-renowned painter, author, instructor and dedicated conservationist, was tragically killed by a charging Cape Buffalo while hiking near his home in Kenya on December 12, 2004.  At the time, Combes was the Director of the Kenya chapter of the Rhino Rescue Trust (www.rhinorescue.org), an organization founded in 1985 to protect endangered species from poachers and to help the communities surrounding Lake Nakuru National Park affected by wildlife conflicts.   As this is the first year for the award, the first recipient has yet to be selected.

Gemma Gylling
Gemma Gylling is a California native who grew up there on a small ranch and currently resides in Valley Springs, California with her family and two dogs. It was on that small ranch where she developed her love of nature and animals. 

Gemma will have an artwork in this year's AFC exhibition featuring two inseparable elephants, Maggie and Mara, that live at a sanctuary called Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).  Gemma has volunteered there for over six years as a docent for both the elephants and the lions. Like many AFC members she does not emphasis the volunteer work she does because it just comes naturally with the love of nature and the love of the subjects of her artwork.  

This volunteer work illustrates the impact artists have on their subjects and the impact the subjects have on the artist, a bit about those subjects is worth recounting here. Maggie and Mara were both born in Africa (in the early 80’s) and were orphaned when their mothers were shot in a cull (a systematic killing of adult elephants by the government in order to control population encroaching upon human civilization).  Both elephants were placed in zoos, one in San Jose, CA and one in Alaska.  After Maggie’s elephant companion passed away in Alaska there was an outcry to bring her to a more appropriate climate where there are more elephants for her to reach out to.  Mara was going to end up in a circus.  PAWS have 2,300 acres in San Andreas, CA. It's currently home to African and Asian elephants, tigers, bears, African lions and a black leopard. The elephant habitats at PAWs provide the elephants with acres of varied natural terrain to roam, lakes to bathe in, and state-of-the-art elephant barns equipped with heated stalls and indoor therapeutic pool.

From the time she was a little girl Gemma always wanted to create art. Her art is inspired by her love and passion of wildlife and animals. "The animals speak to me in a very special way and because of that I try to help them speak to you through my art. I strive to portray the velvet touch of their fur, the sound of their roar, or the plight they are living in to simply exist. My animal art is created by applying several layers of colored pencil on suede mat board or a sanded surface. Each creation can take up to 150 hours. When viewing my artwork, people often say “I can’t believe this is done with Colored Pencils”.

She is a self taught artist who wants to share the wonder of nature through her art. Gemma is known for her attention to detail and her skill with the colored pencils, which is currently enjoyed by many animal art collectors. Some of Gemma's other passions are Seascapes in Oil and creating Stained Glass windows.

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New Members of the WNAG
wildlife art Matt Patterson


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Matt Patterson...
 
wildlife art Rick Geib
Wildlife Bronze Sculpture/Jewelry

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Rick Geib...
 
wildlife art Emma Bowring

mma Bowring has always had a love of getting up close to nature. She is fascinated with the detail of things, and where possible, how they feel. She is now combining that love for nature with her artwork to further the AFC mission of using art to further the conservation cause
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Emma Bowring...
 
wildlife art Michelle McCune
Representational oil paintings of wildlife
ichelle McCune, DVM is both an artist and veterinarian and uses these skills to educate and foster support of conservation efforts. She firmly believes that education is the key to helping people connect and empower them. Her family recently relocated from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois to the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. Michelle has since begun a transition from working in a small animal clinic to following her passion of helping wild animals and preservation of ecosystems. 
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Michelle McCune...
 

 

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Original Painting

"Thick Billed Murres, Cape Wolstenholme"
By Kathy Haycock
9 x 12
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"NATURES JEWEL"
By Chris Navarro
17 x 7 x 8 (inches)
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