Featured Artist: Debbie McCulliss

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Yellowstone Bison in Soda Butte Creek

Debbie McCulliss

Artist Locale:  Colorado, USA

Subject Matter: Wildlife and Nature

Medium: Fine Art Photography

About the Artwork: Photographing bison in Yellowstone National Park is on many photographer’s bucket lists. These magnificent mammals are certainly photogenic. The bison is our national mammal and the symbol or the American Wilderness and West. They are about six feet tall and weigh between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds. Despite their size and weight, bison are excellent swimmers, can run up to 35 miles per hour (three times faster than humans), and can jump over objects about five feet high. They have excellent hearing, vision, and sense of smell. Their life expectancy in the wild is up to 20 years.

While feet of snow blanketed the Yellowstone National Park landscape and the temperatures were well below zero in February, I watched in amazement on a hillside as this bison crossed Soda Butte Creek in the Lamar Valley.  

Observing Yellowstone bison showed me why they are symbols of strength, stamina, survival, unity, and a wild spirit, especially in this protected land of unpredictable harsh weather and wind. The protection and recovery of bison in Yellowstone is among the great triumphs of American conservation, although management challenges of today’s bison herds are plentiful. 

There is something for every photographer at Yellowstone in winter-capturing high-contrast or dramatic snow scenes, the animals surviving in harsh conditions, a variety of textures, and simplicity—even stunning black and white images. Yellowstone’s ecosystem allows for it all. 

Bowed Chilkat River Eagle
Bowed Chilkat River Eagle

Artist Statement: Debbie McCulliss, a Colorado-based winter wildlife and nature fine art photographer, travels the globe to bear witness to and record the strength, fragility, beauty, and rhythm of wildlife and nature. McCulliss holds master’s degrees in nursing, science-medical writing, and non-fiction writing. She is also a certified applied poetry facilitator.

Debbie_McCulliss_African Baboon-9399
African Baboon

Artist Bio

Debbie McCulliss, a Colorado-based winter wildlife and nature fine art photographer, travels the globe to bear witness to and record the strength, fragility, beauty, and rhythm of wildlife and nature. 

 McCulliss holds master’s degrees in nursing, science-medical writing, and non-fiction writing. She is also a certified applied poetry facilitator. 

On most weekend evenings in 2016, McCulliss began photographing what became much-anticipated sunsets in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, before noticing two bald eagles perched on a pinion tree about 1500 feet away from her house. She remembers the first day that she tried to capture the eagles flying off that pinion tree. McCulliss made it her goal to capture a sharp image of the eagles’ amazing eyes. Her passion for wildlife photography grew from this singular challenge. 

 She began to research animal behavior and migration, not only for the eagles, but for other animals, such as elk and hawks. Like the eagles, the animals were drawing her further and further into their world. The more she learned, the bigger her photographic world became. With every change of season, she found inspiration in unexpected places. 

 McCulliss continues to master her photographic skills and to capture “the shot.” Today, she craves expeditions to polar regions. While such travel is oftentimes outside her comfort zone and in remote areas, these adventures help raise awareness and broaden her perspective of the world. It’s a privilege to see wildlife in their natural habitat and witness stunning, awe-inspiring, breathtaking landscapes. McCulliss journeys to learn about the history, ecosystems, environmental threats, and conservation efforts of the places that she visits. She believes that showcasing her work and writing for publication helps to increase the public’s awareness of ongoing needs: respect for nature and protection of wildlife, the marine environment, and endangered species. 

 The places she has visited have a powerful presence in her head and heart; she treasures these special places and the creation of stories that teach and art that pleases the senses. Her goal is to create memorable art that inspires conversation, evokes action, or leaves a lasting impression.

Featured Artist Kristen Roskob

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Title: Waiting

Kristen Roskob

Artist Locale:  Arizona, USA

Subject Matter: Portraits

Medium: Graphite, Pastel

About “Waiting: Ever since she was a little girl, Kristen has always had a deep love for animals, especially cats. She has had at least one cat in her life since she was four years old. This drawing was based on a reference photo of her own rescue cat, Dante. This photo was begging to be drawn due to the lighting, expression, and detail in the scratch post.

Dante and his siblings were rescued by a local shelter from an apartment complex in a bad neighborhood. Thanks to this amazing rescue, he escaped the harsh feral life and now lives happily as an indoor kitty with his three other rescued brothers, Winston, Max, and Alister. Kristen Roskob is currently drawing all of them as part of a collection that will be available soon.

Dallas Green

“However, for the first time in her life she truly feels like she’s doing what she was always meant to do.”

Artist Bio

Mr Beel

Kristen Roskob is a self-taught photo-realistic portrait artist who lives southeast of Phoenix, Arizona. She loves capturing the expression and emotion of living beings. She is inspired by other artists, photographers,illustrators, as well as her own family. Her work consists of a combination of custom commissioned portraits and original fine art intended to inspire and provoke emotion.
Following a 15 year-long career in web development, Kristen is currently re-emerging into the art world. She became involved in art again after her chronic pain conditions became too much to manage in tandem with the high-stress work of IT Consulting. A full-time corporate job was no longer possible with her conditions, so she quit the corporate world and turned back to art. This became a fulfilling way to cope with the chronic pain and despair, while allowing her to regain the confidence she lost.
For the first time in her life, she truly feels that she is doing what she was always meant to do. That drives her to continue pushing and evolving her art while being an inspiration to others.

Featured Artist: Andrew Lincoln Nelson

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PhytoBorg 3

Andrew Lincoln Nelson

Artist Locale:  Arizona, USA

Subject Matter: Astrobiological Landscapes

Medium: Graphite Pencil

About this Piece: “Phytoborg 3″ (Graphite on Bristol board, 18″ by 24”) is part of a series of drawings (“Surreal Evolution / Living Machines”) that depict astrobiological landscapes. A “Phytoborg” is a vegetative life form that fuses machine and living plant-like elements. These vegetative machine-plants might be post-technology life or exo-biological forms of life. The spheroid “tree” in “Phytoborg 3” is organic in appearance, but is covered by square shapes that suggest a machine or non-biological origin. The surrounding ground in the drawing is covered by spongy fungus-like mounds that continue toward the horizon. These might represent some alien mono-culture landscape, but the mounds have slightly different morphologies.

This drawing is one of the most space-filling and corporeal early drawings in the Surreal Evolution series of graphite drawings. Subsequent drawings in this series use semi-realistic arid landscapes as backgrounds to provide scale and context to the machine plant-creatures. Phytoborg 3, however, has a background of fungus-like mounds that stretch back to the horizon. This could be an exoplanet or maybe a strange future Earth.

Phyto Ost2

Artist Statement: My work includes detailed graphite pencil drawings of landscapes containing machine creatures, plant-animal hybrids and other conglomerations that might be found in the distant future or on other worlds. Many of the landscapes are drawn from southwestern deserts, waterscapes, and mountains, but others reflect a less Earthly aspect. These drawings focus on post-technology ecosystems containing self-sustaining technological artifacts. What would feral technology do if it were left to its own devices to spawn and reproduce long after its biological creators had passed away, maybe millions of years in the future here on Earth or perhaps on some alien world with unclassifiable fusions of biology and machine?

These drawings give speculative visual answers to the question above. Are there commonalities among all possible forms of complex life? Art through the ages has explored the unique nature of human experience. But is our uniqueness really our most important aspect? Maybe what makes us alive is more important than what makes us human. When we look at a natural object with a complex structure we often feel some kind of affinity or fascination even if we don’t know exactly what we are looking at. For instance, a close-up image of a bone fragment or of a complex fungus is mesmerizing, somehow compelling to the eye. These drawings depict objects or things that are un-named and unknown to the viewer, but the underlying structures are familiar in a complex organic way.

Plantimal 2

Artist Bio

Andrew Lincoln Nelson is a US artist working in Arizona. His art includes detailed drawings of creature-like machines and strange plants in barren or alien landscapes. This artwork explores biology-technology fusion, time and distance scaling and the relationship between patterns at the micro and macro level. Conceptually the subjects of these drawings tend toward the surrealistic. In contrast, the execution is realistic and contains elements of photo-realism landscape rendering. Born and raised in Wyoming, Nelson drew, built and sculpted machines and strange creatures throughout childhood. During his teen years he studied painting and print making but continued to focus on drawing. He attended the Evergreen State College in Washington and studied art, artificial intelligence and philosophy. Later, he received a degree in engineering from North Carolina State University and entered into an academic career, publishing research in robotics, artificial intelligence and cell biology.

 His later academic work was devoted to evolutionary computing applications for autonomous robots and artificial life. This research and academic writing has served as a prominent conceptual drive for his artwork. For the last 15 years, Nelson has focused on drawings of unearthly machines and hybrid machine-plant-animal creatures (“Phytoborgs, Surreal Machines and Osteoborgs”), with work being exhibited in both scientific and fine-art venues. His drawings are done entirely by hand using traditional drawing techniques with graphite pencil and drafting eraser. Although his earlier research was computationally intensive, he now uses only hand calculations, slide rules from the mid-20th century, and projection and camera-obscura-like techniques from the Renaissance era. He also occasionally constructs simple drafting tools and creature-element models and uses many objects taken from nature for surface and texture references.