One beautiful sunny morning, I was able to observe a pair of endangered Whooping Cranes grooming, feeding, and interaction with each other. They were well aware of my presence but continued with their daily routine.
In China and Japan, cranes carry the symbolism of longevity, immortality, and prosperity. This seemed contradictory to the status of the species. I was captivated by their graceful movements and serene disposition. Standing five feet tall, they commanded my presence and it dawned on my why they became endangered in the first place. Their prominence and the declining habitat must have made them easy targets for hunters.
I connected to them even more while painting—knowing their importance in culture and ancient symbolism. I placed a white butterfly for fun and as an additional kick of symbolism of protection and purity of the soul.
The International Crane Foundation in Baraboo Wisconsin hosts all fifteen species of cranes. The story of the Whooping Crane is remarkable: from almost completely extinct—reduced to only twenty cranes left—to now over seven hundred cranes in the wild. With the effort of many scientists and individuals, this species has come back from the brink of extinction.
I tried to show the compelling beauty of this amazing creature by using light. There were many shades of purples, blues. and warm glows of yellow within the feathers—which made the Whooping Crane a wonderful subject to paint.