Artist Comments: The Texas Horned Lizard, or simply “horny toad” as we called them when I was a kid growing up in west Texas, was fun a painting to do and brought back lots of fond childhood memories. As children, my friends and I would see these critters all the time and often played with them for a while, then we would release them. As an adult I noticed they aren’t in abundance so much anymore. So I did a little research to find out why. This is what I discovered from my readings.
About 70% of the Texas horned lizard’s diet is made up of harvester ants. Through the years their population has declined by about 30%. Although, I’m happy to read, they may be making a comeback. The decline is due to the overuse of pesticides and the spread of nonnative fire ants. Both eradicate harvester ant colonies, destroying the lizard’s principal source of food. The Texas horned lizard is now a protected species, and, in Texas, it is illegal to take, possess, transport or sell them without a special permit.
According to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, issue August/September 2018, “Texas horned lizards once occurred throughout Texas, but now only a few populations remain. Efforts to move Texas horned lizards from one location in Texas to another, with the hope of establishing new self-sustaining populations in previously occupied habitat, are underway. Several Texas zoos are also working to develop colonies for reintroduction programs. RAWA (Recovering America’s Wildlife Act) funding would pay for “lizard factories” to help with reintroduction efforts.”
I shared a post about my findings on Facebook and received some interesting comments.
One friend whom I’ve known since my early teen years lives a small Texas town. She told me they have a horny toad festival every year called The Old Rip Festival. And it’s all about a horny toad named Old Rip! She sent me a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine website. It tells all about the legend, lore and legacy of Old Rip, a horny toad that supposedly lived for 31 years! (https://tpwmagazine.com/archive/2008/oct/legend/)
Another FB pal comments, “you still see these in West Texas and Panhandle. Fire ants haven’t taken over every inch of ground like they have here, and harvester ants are still there, so that helps with the “horny toads”. Hope they make a comeback here someday.”
Size: 16″ x 20″ Support: Gallery wrap stretched canvas Description: An oil painting of the profile of a large white dog, perhaps of the Great Pyrenees variety. In the background is a field of yellow wildflowers. Gallery wrap means this painting will not require a frame as the composition extends around the edges of the canvas surface.
Artist Comments: This is a painting of a large white dog, possibly a Great Pyrenees. The Great Pyrenees has been one of my favorite breed of dog ever since Lobo, our Pyrenees mix dog, showed up at our door one day and decided to stay. Living out in the country as we do, means we get a lot of strays who wonder up to our door looking for a place to call home. We don’t know where they come from, but we never turn them away. We try to find their owner, if possible. If not, then we find them a new home or we wind up adopting them ourselves. This painting isn’t of Lobo, but the dog portrayed in it sure does reminds me of him.
A Few Fun Facts About Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees dog makes a great family pet. They are calm, devoted and well-mannered canines. They also make great guard dogs, especially around livestock. They are very devoted to those they love and will protect family with their very life if need be.
The Great Pyrenees is a dog of great intellect with a mind of their own and love to figure things out by themselves. While this is a wonderful trait, it can create a bit of a challenge when it comes to training.
For more information about this breed of dog, visit this website.
For centuries wildlife and animal art has been a favorite genre of artistic expression that attracts a huge following of artists and aficionados who love animals. In fact it is so popular, that art societies, exhibitions, competitions and galleries have formed which are devoted to the cause. Wildlife paintings are such a well loved form of wall art that fine artists and photographers have captured the beauty of animals out in the wild and nature for everyone to enjoy.
Everyone loves wildlife artwork and here are seven reasons why:
1. Animal art is easy to find and purchase. Since wildlife paintings are such a popular form of art, many artists have depicted animals in all forms of their wall art. As such, wildlife works of art are in abundance. It is easy to find such paintings by visiting art galleries, craft fairs, artist’s studios, home décor stores or online art websites.
2. Wildlife paintings look great hanging on the walls of your home or office. This genre of art goes well with just about any décor. It is a great way of bringing the great outdoors into your home and put on display for visitors and family to enjoy. Those who are physically challenged and can’t get outside as much as they would like will especially appreciate animal paintings as these will give them a sense of being outdoor.
3. Wildlife art is a great way to start a conversation. Animals are so interesting and there is such a variety of life in the animal kingdom you will never lack something to discuss. When visitors come calling your animal art can be a great way to get a good conversation going and keeping it going for hours. What a great way to pass the time!
4. If you are the type who loves to be out in nature with wildlife, then animal paintings are a great way to re-live and reminisce about memorable trips to the zoo, hunting trips, safaris or other adventures out into the great outdoors.
5. There is such a variety of creatures in nature that can be featured in paintings of wildlife. Mammals, fish, insects and birds. Among these can be domestic animals such as pets or livestock or wild animals. Animal artwork can be portrayed as realistic, abstract, cartoonish or anything in between. There is simply something for everyone, young or old, regardless of gender.
6. Many individuals enjoy having portraits painted of their favorite pets. Pet portraits are an excellent way to remember a beloved pet that has passed away and helps to keep his/her memory alive for years to come. Some just enjoy having a painting of their pet to adorn the wall of their home or office. Click for more information about how to commission a pet portrait of your pet.
7. Wildlife paintings make wonderful gifts because everyone loves wildlife art!
Artist Comments: The Texas Longhorn is a common breed of registered cattle in Texas. They get their name from the breed’s characteristic long horns. Some sets of horns on these huge bovine can reach a span of 7 feet tip to tip. You simply have to see one these magnificent animals in person to really appreciate those massive horns. I live in East Texas and there are several longhorn ranches near our small homestead. I love driving past these places and seeing the longhorn grazing and resting in their pastures.
• The Texas Longhorn is descended from the first cattle brought to America by Christopher Columbus that bred with native cattle. The breed consists of approximately 80 percent Spanish blood and another 20 percent of “mongrel” stock.
• Texas Longhorns come in all colors and patterns and no two look exactly alike. Their coat pattern can be flamboyant and loud, while others are more subtle in color.
• Both male and female Longhorns have horns, although they will vary in shape and length according to gender. Longer horns are more desirable. The longer the horns, the more valuable the cow or bull. Calves will begin to grow their horns by 3 weeks of age.
• There are Texas Longhorn ranches all over America. They is easily adaptable to all temperatures from hot to cold climates. This breed of cattle has the ability to thrive in terrains and climates where other breeds have difficulty living.
Size: 12″ x 16″ Support: Stretched canvas Description: A commissioned painting of a black Labrador Retriever. Pet Portrait of Frank is owned by a private art collector in Illinois.
Teresa, the painting arrived and it looks wonderful! I can’t wait to see my wife’s reaction this weekend. — R. Draper, Granville IL
Artist Comments: My husband and I both love animals. We always rescue abandoned pets that God places in our path. We live in the country and unwanted pets are often left at our place. We take them in, clean them up, feed them, get them medical attention if they need it, and find them new loving homes. Dogs are such loving and loyal creatures, and it just breaks my heart when they end up as “throw-a-away” pets. Sandy, a yellow lab, was one of those unfortunate dogs who found her way to our door. We took her in too. Only this time, we adopted her for a family pet. We now have five dogs and three cats, and we love every one of them as part of our family.
When I was commissioned to do this dog portrait of a black lab, a beloved pet named Frank, I was delighted. Frank was a family dog that passed away awhile back and his family still missed him. The portrait was done from a favorite photo of him so I kept the painting as close to the photograph as I could. The painting was to be a surprise gift to my client’s wife for Mother’s Day. It was a my pleasure to do this painting for a fellow dog lover.
Size: 18″ x 24″ Support: Stretched canvas Description: A realistic painting of an African bull elephant. This painting sold to a private art collector in North Carolina.
Painting has arrived. I am pleased to add it to my collection. Thank you. — H. Shaw, Winston Salem NC
Artist Comments: As an artist I’m always looking for good reference photos to paint from. Taking lots of photos myself is one way I get them. Others like to give me their photos to use as well. Using resources like this to paint from is something many artists do when they paint. Other artists like to paint on location, but will still take a photo of the scenery to take home with them. They use them to finish up their painting when they are back in their studio.
Several years ago some acquaintances of mine went on an African safari. While there, they snapped a photo of this elephant and emailed it to me. They thought I might like to use it as a resource photo for a painting. And they were right! I liked it so much I did this painting from it.
Some Interesting Facts About African Elephants
African elephants are native to Africa. They are characterized by having enormous flapping ears and ivory tusks. These magnificent creatures are the largest living land animal. Being hunted for their ivory tusks and their shrinking natural habitat have proven instrumental in these animals being placed on the endangered species list. Indeed, they are one of the most endangered species in all of Africa. In the 1980’s there were around 1 million African elephants roaming the plains of Africa, today the total population is less than 470,000.