In a profusion of horns, claws, feathers, fur, spots, stripes and colors, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island unveiled a new exhibit in the Nautilus Gallery July 9. “Wild at Art” celebrates the incredible diversity of animal life with 30 original works by 22 members of the Raleigh-Durham chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA). Each painting is accompanied by interesting facts or conservation information about the animal it portrays. The exhibit will remain on view through September.
The Nautilus Gallery, across from the Aquarium gift shop, focuses on marine and wildlife art. Realizing the ability of art to help us understand and appreciate nature, aquariums and zoos have long used artistic renderings of animals to make important points memorable and to reinforce the special connection between people and animals. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to education, conservation, science and institutional accreditation, recognizes the power of art to encourage respect for the natural world.
“This exhibit impresses me with the diversity of artists’ styles, all springing from this deceptively simple medium – the colored pencil,” said Maylon White, director of the Aquarium on Roanoke Island. “Each piece is worthy of lengthy study and contemplation.”
Colored pencils have become a popular medium worldwide, well suited to capturing the beauty of nature. Their depth and intensity of color, ability to render fine detail and their durability make them suited to a wide range of subjects and techniques, from quick field sketches to scientific illustrations and formal portraits. Because colored pencils are semi-transparent, artists can create luminous, vibrant effects by layering and burnishing. And, because colored pencils are compatible with watercolor, acrylic, ink and graphite, they lend themselves to multimedia compositions.
The CPSA, founded in 1990, has 27 chapters and a total membership of more than 2,000. Although the Raleigh-Durham chapter is located in the Triangle, it has nationally and internationally recognized members throughout North Carolina. The chapter holds workshops and a weekly open studio, sponsors exhibitions and promotes the use of colored pencils for all art.
The Aquarium on Roanoke Island, adjacent to the Manteo Regional Airport, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission: ages 3–12, $8.95; ages 13–61, $10.95; ages 62 +, $9.95. Children 2 and under and North Carolina Aquarium Society members are admitted free of charge.
For more information about Wild at Art or the Aquarium’s many other exhibits and programs, visit www.ncaquariums.com or call 252-473-3494 or 1-800-332-3475 extension 4. For more information about the Colored Pencil Society of America, visit www.CPSA.org and the Raleigh-Durham Chapter Web site at www.cpsadc114.org
Photo: “Toucans Ablaze,” colored pencil illustration by Jacqueline Balog.