Guardian of the Karst
Framed 13" x 16" Limited Edition Giclee Print, 2011 (Age 16)
When I was being mentored under Robert Bateman, he advised me to join and support local groups that are making an effort to preserve nature. So I decided to join FOTEK (Friends of the Eramosa Karst), which is a group that has supported a new conservation area above the Niagara Escarpment in Stoney Creek. After I joined FOTEK, the board saw my website and asked me to be the featured artist with an exhibition at their annual Dinner and Dance Fundraiser, and donate one of my prints for their raffle. The whole board took my family on a personal guided tour of the Eramosa Karst. So, what is a 'karst' anyhow? I found out it is a geological term for a landscape that has an underlay of limestone, which over the years has eroded and dissolved, creating ridges, fissures, sinkholes and caves. I was intrigued by this and took many photos of the landscape, especially the caves. At one point on our tour I spotted a hawk in the distance, so my brother and I ran to take a closer look at what turned out to be a Red-tailed Hawk, which I took many photos of (holding up the tour for about ten minutes!) But when I sent the board the photos later, they were delighted and encouraged me to do a painting of it for next year’s fundraiser. This summer I used the photos I had taken of the rock formations, caves and hawk as references to create this painting entitled Guardian of the Karst. I wanted to depict the hawk in a stately pose on the bare branches of pre-snow winter, in front of the entrance to the largest cave. His head has just turned, as if he has suddenly heard or seen something of potential danger. His razor-sharp stare depicts the curiosity and mystery of the moment.