The Timber Wolf Alliance has selected Sierra Evening—Mexican Wolf by Canadian artist Robert Bateman for the 2018 Wolf Awareness Week poster, to be released later this year. This is Bateman’s second time as the featured artist; his painting, New Territory, was chosen for the 2008 poster.
The Mexican Wolf was reintroduced in 1998 for the first time in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area within the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area. They still remain on the brink of survival, with just 114 known wolves roaming southern New Mexico and Arizona as of April 2018.
“In this painting, I have shown a fleeting glimpse of a handsome male as he is about to vanish behind a live oak into the evening shadow,” Bateman said. “Let us hope that we can put his species back into the picture of our vanishing wilderness.”
Bateman painted Sierra Evening in 1994, four years before the Mexican wolf’s reintroduction into the wild. Of the painting, he wrote:
“The smallest and one of the most beautiful varieties of timber wolf is the Mexican wolf or lobos. For a species in a warm, dry climate, its fur is surprisingly luxuriant with rich, tawny colours set against cream and black. It is also, regrettably, extinct in the wild. Formerly it ranged from New Mexico and Arizona into Texas and down across the central plateau of Mexico.
“Luckily, a small breeding stock remains in various locations in captivity. It is important that captive breeding and reintroduction into the wild be given wholehearted support. Any ecosystem is incomplete without the dominant predators at the top of the food chain. The wonderful bits of remaining rugged wilderness need to resound with the call of the wolf. Their numbers will never be large, but the picture will not be complete without the wolf.”
Bateman, who lives in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, has a long-standing passion for nature and wildlife. He taught high school for twenty years, including two years in Nigeria. Since leaving teaching in 1976 to paint full-time, he has traveled with his wife Birgit, an artist and conservationist.
In the early 1980s, Bateman’s work began to attract a large following and now his work hangs in many public and private collections as well as several art museums. Books about his life and art have had sales of over one million copies. His latest book, Robert Bateman’s Canada was released in October 2017, and he has been the subject of several films and television programs.
His honors, awards and honorary doctorates are numerous and include Officer of the Order of Canada. It is in honor of Bateman’s contribution to art, teaching, and conservation that one public and two secondary schools have been named after him; as well, he has been awarded fourteen honorary doctorates. Robert Bateman is perceived by many to be one of the voices of reason and hope for healthy, rejuvenated, and creative engagement with the natural world.
Many of his early works are on display at The Robert Bateman Centre on the Inner Harbour of Victoria, BC. He is associated in the public mind with pro-nature education by his work, writings, and public speaking. He is a natural and gregarious teacher and his artwork is vastly instructive.
“I want people to develop an understanding and appreciation for nature,” Bateman said. “By featuring the wildlife in my art in its natural habitat, the viewer is encouraged to closely observe the natural world.”
The Timber Wolf Alliance will be focusing on the Mexican wolf this year for Wolf Awareness Week October 21 – 27. The deadline for sponsorships and for bulk and single pre-orders (at a significant price break) is June 29. Follow this link to find the form.
Image: Sierra Evening – Mexican Wolf, 1994 © Robert Bateman