African animals come to life in “Beast,” by John Banovich

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© John Banovich, Giants of Kilimanjaro, 2016, oil on belgian linen, 24 x 24 in.                        Limited Edition Giclee on Canvas.

My father loves Africa, he has been there over 35 times. He was especially fascinated by elephants, lions and leopards. I believe they gave him strength to persevere, fight and drive himself to success. He is a self made man, ferocious reader and watches many documentaries. In fact, as we were growing up, he’d call us in to watch, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” with Marlin Perkins. This show studied wild animals in their natural habitats, we learned the importance of conservation from Perkins’s stories.

Fast forward 35+ years and conservation efforts are stronger than ever. Years ago, my father and I came across an artist out of Montana named, “John Banovich.” We were immediately mesmerized by his larger than life paintings of African animals. Clearly, Banovich had the same passion for African animals as my father had with the ability to bring them to life. For example, take a look at this elephant painting by Banovich. It’s incredible, we can see the precision with which Banovich paints the wrinkles on the elephant’s skin, brings fierceness to his eyes, the tusks perfectly positioned with just the right color. What amazed my father and I was the “feeling” that we were facing the elephant “head on, eye to eye,” like a fight scene. He gives life to all of his paintings in this way. They are very powerful!

Banovich’s love of animals/nature runs deep. In 2007, he started the Banovich Wildscapes Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to conserve wildlife, wild places and the people who live there. Right now, he supports twelve projects in seven countries with a portion of artwork sales going to the Foundation. A few projects are saving lions in Africa, Siberian tigers in Russia Far East and brown bears in North America. On his Foundation’s website you can read specific information on each project.

In 2009, he published the book, “Beast.” This banovich-book-beastbook shares his life story and collection of paintings. It’s a beautiful book, one that should be put on a coffee table and shared with others.

Visit Banovich’s Facebook page for the latest news on his projects and events. His next event is in South Carolina. If you’d like to learn more about his work, this is your chance to meet him in person AND to support wildlife conservation!

NEXT EVENT

THE ART OF CONSERVATION
Plantation Grille, Brays Island Plantation, SC
Guest Speaker: John Banovich, Artist/Conservationist
March 13, 2017, 3:30-5:00pm

French artist Clet Abraham gives traffic signs in Florence, Italy a “new look.”

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While I was walking in Florence recently, I “did” notice the traffic signs had art on them and thought it was graffiti. Then a friend told me it was actually a French-born artist, Clet Abraham, who had been going around town placing stickers on traffic signs.

Clet has lived in Florence over 20 years now and started this street sign art about five years ago. He has had a little trouble from the police, but it seems that has been sorted out and now he is famous for his art. He created the art as stickers, so they can easily be removed and he has expanded to other cities in Italy. If you are visiting Florence, he has a studio close to Piazza Michelangelo and he sells some of his stickers there. So, you could pay him a visit, see his art and speak to him in person.

You can follow Clet on Facebook. I just visited his site and was amused at other stickers he has come up with. He had visited New York, so he has one of the Statue of Liberty. There was a funny post there where Clet went to buy a pizza and they surprised him with a pizza that had a traffic sign on it. Be warned, if you don’t speak Italian, you will need your Italian dictionary to understand some of the conversations; however, you don’t need to speak Italian to enjoy the pictures he has posted. Good news – some of the discussions are in English.

Enjoy looking at street signs in a whole new way!

Be an Artist

imageThere seems to be an art craze going on right now. I am not an artist by trade, but I have always wanted to learn how to paint using water colors in particular. So, I was pleasantly surprised when a friend recently told me about a company called, “Corks and Canvas Events.

Apparently the owners, Lisa Cryder and Stefanie Hare, came up with a great idea of combing painting with visiting different wineries and wine bars in the Seattle area. Visit their website and you’ll see you can choose a painting you’d like to paint and then find the date for that event. Art supplies, instructions and one glass of wine are included in the fee. You socialize with new people, learn how to paint and as they say, “go home with a masterpiece.”image

On another note, have you noticed that Adult coloring books are sprouting up everywhere? I don’t know how I missed that one. It seems like the coloring books have popped up over night. I noticed they are on all sorts of topics and you can choose to color in markers, colored pencils or crayons.

Somehow, I think my attention span might get a little bored with coloring… not sure. I think I would prefer putting a puzzle together or playing Canasta. Although, I’d have to freshen up on the rules of Canasta, I haven’t played in a long time.

The good news is, if you want to be an artist, you don’t have to sign up for a 6 week long art class to learn how to paint anymore. Just find a painting event in an area near you and “presto” you can be an artist in one night! Move over Picasso!