Category Archives: Environment

Response to My Surroundings

A generally agreed upon definition of abstract art is the use a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.

Along those lines, I am now doing a series of paintings that are a response to New Mexico. Right now, as in many parts of the world, the landscape is brown and dark, fall is almost over, and the sky is frequently grey. I am on my second painting and my process has been to look at nature and choose paint colors based on what I see. Then in a response to my surroundings, I just start putting paint on canvas using a variety of brushes and tools. I play with paint until I think the painting is “finished.”

Ann Hart Marquis-New Mexico, Late Fall-acrylic

New Mexico, Late Fall, acrylic on canvas, 18×24-inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis

I realize that my finished product is a result on what is going on unconsciously and consciously. I guess that you could say that I am painting both the inner and outer landscape. It is rather exciting to not know what I will end up with.

In my continuing foray into the abstract world, I find that I still like to see that comforting horizon line. It is difficult to lose it and still call a painting an abstract landscape.

I would appreciate any feedback.

Theresa Sweeney: Eco-Art Therapy


Howler. © Theresa Sweeney

Howler. © Theresa Sweeney

I first became aware of the work and writing of Theresa Sweeney a year before she died when one of my paintings was featured in the journal, Stone Voices: Connecting Art with Spirit. Dr. Sweeney wrote a column in the journal for three years. Her writing centered on healing the self and the earth at the same time through art. She was an artist and founder of the new blended psychology, Eco-Art Therapy.

What'd Up, Theresa Sweeney

What’d Up?  ©Theresa Sweeney


Baby Ella. ©Theresa Sweeney


Since my art focuses on painting nature in order to emphasize its fragility and beauty, I was immediately drawn to her perspective. Here is a segment of her writing that appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Stone Voices.

“My art is a celebration of our connection to Nature. It inspires us because it reaches that non-verbal knowingness deep inside that we are part of something much larger and wiser than ourselves. I like to think of my art as a porthole into that world.”


Theresa Sweeney was on a mission to reconnect people with the purity, wisdom and spirit of nature within and around us. I think that I now want to read more of her work.

Abstract River Delta Paintings

Because of my concern for the environment, I am in the process of painting the River Delta Series which consists of river deltas from around the world that are considered endangered due to pollution, drought, or man-made water displacement. A river delta is the mouth of a river, where the river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, or reservoir.

Annhartmarquis-Mississippi RiverDelta

Mississippi River Delta, acrylic on canvas, 24″x30″, ©2014, Ann Hart Marquis

Due to the fact that my work is inspired by NASA photos, the river deltas as seen from space appear to be abstract paintings, sometimes with a feeling of surface and terrain, but always associated with the feeling of water. I was surprised when I first saw photos of the NASA images because they were so lovely. The colors appeared to be arbitrary at times and realistic in other photos. I think they are intriguing.

Rivers sustain entire nations with food, water, energy and more. We are bound to them and they bind us to each other. They are a major key to building stable and equitable economies, feeding growing populations and improving the health and well-being of people, especially the poor. Too often we make shortsighted choices, face competing priorities and send problems downstream.

In 2013 the Colorado River was named the most endangered river in the U.S. It is a lifeline in the desert— its water sustaining tens of millions of people and endangered fish and wildlife in seven states. However, demand on the river’s water now exceeds its supply, leaving the river so over-tapped that it dries up to a trickle before reaching the sea. A century of water management policies and practices that have promoted wasteful water use have put the river at a critical crossroads.

Colorada River Delta, NASA

Colorado River Delta, NASA

Here in New Mexico we have the “mighty Rio Grande.” One of the largest rivers in North America, the 1,885-mile (3,033-kilometer) Rio Grande runs from southwestern Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. It defines much of the border between Texas and Mexico.

But the once grande river is looking more poco these days, thanks to heavy use on both sides of the border. Less than a fifth of the Rio Grande’s historical flow now reaches the Gulf. For a few years in the early 2000s, the river failed to reach the coast of the gulf of Mexico entirely.

I feel that art can be a catalyst for social awareness and positive change. I do not believe that one must always show the negative impact on nature in order to bring attention to the fragility of the environment.

annhartmarquis-Nileriver delta,Egypt

Nile River Delta, acrylic on canvas, 24″x30″, ©2014, Ann Hart Marquis

Wild Horses in Peril

Guest Post by Karen McLain

In June of 2009, I was on my way home from a workshop with Cowboy Artist of America, Jim C. Norton, when I first visited wild horses. It was the Onaqui herd, located west of the Salt Lake area in Utah.  As I began to paint them, I had no idea the profound impact they would have on my heart, and the important way they would change my painting. The first series I painted, “Among the Mustangs,” featured that Onaqui herd, and 10 days before I first exhibited them, 200 of those horses were rounded up.

Onaqui herd

Onaqui herd, Utah. ©Tribe Equus

History of Wild Horse Management 

At that time, I began to learn about the problems facing wild horses and see what solutions were being worked on. In 1971, the Wild Horse and Burro Act was passed and the BLM and Forest Service were mandated to manage wild horses where they existed on the range lands at that time.

KarenMcLain-Stallion Bunch

Stallion Bunch. ©Karen Mclain

During the past several years Herd Management Areas have been zeroed out, (or vastly reduced, threatening the genetic viability of the herd), and the horses taken to Long Term Holding. Currently, there are more horses in Long Term Holding facilities than are living wild on the range.

In 2011 the National Academy of Science (NAS) did an independent study of BLM management practices and the wild horse program. The findings of that study were recently published and brought before the BLM Advisory Board. It is imperative that the BLM follow the recommendations of the NAS study for a science based and consistent, humane management approach.

Current Needs of Wild Horses  

KarenMcLain-Mare foal

Mare and Foal. ©Karen McLain

My hope is for more on-range management with accurate (not over reported), numbers of wild horses and low stress removal as needed. I also would like to see the continued use of PZP, a vaccine that blocks fertilization. The other aspect that is vital is the collaboration of community partnerships—onsite projects, waterholes, trash clean up, herd monitoring—as well as giving the land a break from multi-use (cattle and sheep grazing) in primarily Wild Horse designated areas.

KarenMcLain-Apache sparr

Apache Sparr. ©Karen McLain

For further information see:

Wyoming RemovalsThe Peril of Cloud’s Famous Herd“Why Wild Horses”,

“Why Wild Horses” by Carol Walker, National Academy of SciencesFacts to Consider

Please enjoy these videos:

Karen McLain

Karen McLain Videos






Painting Wild Horses





Painting Wild Horses

Guest Post by Karen McLain

The summer of 2013 I took my fourth solo trip to paint wild horses. My travels took me to the Upper and Lower Little Book Cliffs, the Sand Wash Basin in Colorado, and McCullough Peaks and the Pryor Mountain herd areas in Wyoming. My schedule fell into a routine of being up before dawn, locating horses, hiking out to them, (sometimes that was further than other times), painting and photographing during the daylight hours and heading back to my campsite in the evening. This process focused my attention and thoughts in the present and resulted in a wonderful time of learning in addition to adding to an already large body of work.

Karen McLain-Sunset Ridge

Sunset Ridge, ©Karen McLain

Spending time with wild horses changed me. I felt like I was a voyeur to something sacred, almost forgotten. I want to express the beauty, power and bonds that I see manifest in wild horses. The freedom, risk and challenge that are inherent in living wild in nature is reflected in my process of painting from life. My work is not solely a painting of a horse, but a reflected communication of their experience and our journey.

Karen McLain-Run with the Moon

Run with the Moon, ©Karen McLain

In addition to the experience of painting the landscape from life, I find painting horses from life to be not only challenging but vital to the life that I put into studio paintings. When painting a landscape from life, we don’t need to worry about the landscape moving (only the sun moving), when painting a human from life, we can pose the model, when painting a domestic horse from life, we can tie them to a hitching post, but painting a wild horse from life has none of those constraints.

Somehow, the lack of those constraints symbolizes the freedom of wild horses. That energy, freedom and life is part of what I put into those studies.

Karen McLain-Sound of Freedom

Sound of Freedom, ©Karen McLain

Freedom is the essence of wild horses. There is something fundamentally pure and powerful in that. The feeling of being renewed, the sense of adventure and peaceful unity is what I want to pass on.

Karen McLain-Moonlight Drink

Moonlight Drink, ©Karen McLain

Karen McLain is an Arizona native whose paintings are collected across the U.S. Her oil paintings evoke the essence and beauty of the horse and landscape. The special magic of Karen’s work is communicated through the connection between horsemanship and painting. Expressing elements of harmony, balance, timing and feel as they relate not only to painting but to the heart of the horse is a goal she brings to every painting.

Karen McLain-Love and Light

Love and Light, ©Karen McLain

For more information contact Karen or call 480-720-2582.


Joe Zammit-Lucia is a very busy man. If you read about him in my last post, you know about his stunning wild animal portraits. He is also a very dedicated and well-known environmentalist. Because of my priorities, when I first started to develop my website, I wanted to link to art as well as environmental blogs.

The Third Ray


Catherin Nelson, Danube Dusk, The Third Ray

In my search, one of the first art/environment blogs that I happened upon was “The Third Ray” (see the blog to find out what the third ray means). The subheading of this site is ART*SUSTAINABILITY* ENVIRONMENT

This blog, created by Zammit-Lucia asks the question of how artists have been involved in the debate about sustainability and how do they continue to be involved. “This blog takes a broad brief, covering works of art that address issues that have suffered from narrow labels such as ‘conservation’, ‘environmentalism’, ‘green’, ‘global warming’, ‘ecology’, ‘environmental art’, or, more nebulously, ‘saving the planet.’”

Igor Zenin, The Third Ray

Igor Zenin, The Third Ray

“The sustainability debate goes beyond issues of environmentalism and conservation to encompass the worlds of business, finance, economics, politics and social institutions.”

The Intersectionist

“The Third Ray,” although very substantial, is not Zammit-Lucia’s main blog, however. His primary blog is the “Intersectionist” and his primary focus is sustainability. One of his posts explained that our culture is focused on rational, data-driven decision-making, instead of imagining how people’s emotional involvement in our sustainability woes may lead to more personal connection and change.

Theintersectioist-Imagination not informaion

The Intersectionist-Imagination Not Information

Even the conservative EPA has a good definition of sustainability.  “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony.”

Zammit-Lucia also posts for the United Kingdom’s, “The Guardian,” “Self-righteous environmentalism and results-driven management have led to sustainability fatigue. Leaders need to admit we’re at sea and try to refresh sustainability.”

Segmento-the third ray

Segmento-The Third Ray

He also organized and manages the WOLFoundation, a non-profit organization aimed at encouraging dialog and fresh thinking on subjects related to pressing questions in regard to society, politics, business and environment. Its purpose is to find ways to break out of conventional thinking and encourage the imagination. They act as a catalyst for anyone who has fresh ideas on how to improve well-being – sustainably.

He also blogs regularly for Stanford University’s Stanford Social Innovation.

I am sure that I have omitted other projects that he organizes or affects. Although he is very busy getting the word out about the sustainability of our planet, he is known to be a very friendly and social guy.

Charles Fréger-third ray

Charles Fréger, The Third Ray

Cedric Green, Nature Lover #2

Sudan 1, galvanized-etched plate

Cedric Green

Cedric Green is an artist and print maker living and working in France, concerned about health and about the environment. He is also a man of many talents that are partially reflected by his international history. He was born in Mozambique, Africa. He soon moved to Southern Rhodesia and eventually trained in architecture at the University of Natal.

In 1962 he relocated to Great Britain where during a period of 30 years he produced buildings, drawings, designs, sculpture and paintings, and also taught at the Cheltenham School of Art, and Sheffield University in England. In the 80’s he became fascinated by printmaking, and acquired the basic technical skills. He soon moved to France, restored an old farmhouse for home and studio and began working full-time in 1991, painting and making experimental prints.

The Prints

The examples of prints shown here mark recent stages in the development of an individual technique which uses a wide range of methods—copper and zinc plates printed in *intaglio and relief, monotypes sometimes combined in the same print. His methods mix spontaneity of creation and execution, precision, controlled accident, and a search for ways of expressing ideas which have been a preoccupation of his for many years.

A printing process that uses an etched or engraved plate; the plate is smeared with ink and wiped clean, then the ink left in the recesses makes the print.

Paysage nu (1)

Paysage nu (1), galvanized-etched plate, ©Cedric Green


 Cedric’s Recurring Themes

Reflets 1

Reflets 1

A recurring theme is Atlantis, Plato’s mythical utopia destroyed by flood as a punishment for people’s arrogance, a relevant myth for our time. Many of his prints and paintings are based on the ambiguity, distortions and complexity of reflections in water or in the imperfect mirror of memory. Musical ideas are important to him and appear in the frequent use of variations on a theme.

 The Politics of Printmaking

Cedric’s printmaking technique (and enjoyment of printmaking) was transformed by the rediscovery of 19th century electrolytic printing plate-making processes— originally named Electro-Etching and Galvanography. He uses the term “galv-etch” and other names using the prefix “galv” to distinguish particular contemporary application of these old techniques. He is resolutely opposed to attempts to patent and restrict the use of methods that have been known and used by printers and etchers for 150 years. For more information about Cedric’s printmaking ideas go to


If all of this work did not keep him busy enough, he just took three years off to build an ecological house and studio where he now lives and works. Click here to see Building a Solar House in France.

Green Art Part I

Cedric Green, Nature Lover

As I have discussed in my posts before, I consider myself and environmentalist as well as an artist. Not long ago I had the pleasure of being included in an international online artist’s guide that only accepts artists who are creating work related to ecology, nature, social issues and all things Green.

This very extensive guide was created by Cedric Green, an artist and architect who now lives in France. The guide originally developed from Cedric’s desire to use materials that were nontoxic for his personal art. He wanted to create fine art prints without the toxicity of acids, solvents and other noxious chemicals. From nontoxic printmaking methods, Cedric began using safe products for all of his art.

 A Little History and the Development of Cedric’s Website

In the early 1990’s, Cedric produced a booklet about nontoxic printmaking. The international journal Printmaking Today, published a shortened version of the booklet in which he shared that electrolytic etching and plating methods were a 19th century invention, used for printing images as early as 1840.  (

Cedric Green

Imaginary Flowers 1 (Fleurs imaginaires 1), galvanized-etched plates, printed in multiple combinations of rotation and colors ©2010, Cedric Green


At that time he also created a website that included links to other sites of print makers using safe methods for woodcuts, linocuts, water-based screen prints, and substitute photo-printing techniques. All of the information outgrew his links page, so he registered a domain called and the guide started, eventually including all forms of art. It is still a single handed-effort that Cedric struggles to keep going, because of his dedication to ecology and the fact that the website is quite highly ranked by search engines. For more information abut Cedric’s non-toxic printmaking process also see:

For his personal fine art website see:

Is the art you produce green? If not, do you know how to make it nontoxic?

My Inspiration List

Friday Night News

I usually do not expose myself to the “news” on a regular basis. On Friday, May 10, 2013, I did. That night during a 15 second segment, I heard that the carbon dioxide level had gone to 400 parts per million (ppm), the highest number for CO2 levels in recorded history. Out loud I said, “350!” I have a fair understanding of what that 350 means. That evening as I thought more about what I had heard, I wondered who I know realizes what the number signifies.

350ppm is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. It is the number that is linked to sustaining healthy life on our planet. It is the number linked with sustaining the planet. If we don’t reduce the number, it is predicted that it will continue to rise 2ppm per year. What does it mean, I wondered if in 10 years the number is 420?

 Time In My Studio

Since I don’t see the world rushing toward environmental health, I am concerned. I am an artist. It is easy for me to go into my studio and spend my time creating. Creating is a wonderful way to not have enough time to think about what I don’t want to think about. I do believe that my work brings people a sense of peace, an awareness of the beauty of nature and how fragile it is. That is one of the reasons why I paint.

African Acacia

African Acacia, acrylic on canvas, 16×20, © 2006, Ann Hart Marquis

So what do I do about 350, 400, 420? First I will finish this post, and then I will go and paint a little. I will think about more ways to be proactive. I also think that soon I may make a list and call it my Inspiration List (as in the drawing of air into the lungs). What is it that I now “want to do with my one wild and precious life?”


Do you understand what 400 ppm implies?

Go to and find out.


A Nature Story




Endeavor, 20×24, acrylic on canvas, ©2013, Ann Hart Marquis

In my last post I talked about being a tree lover. Because I find trees so compelling, I am always on the lookout for just the perfect tree or trees who are begging to be painted. It’s not just any beautiful tree that calls to me. I am interested in trees who have a story to tell, like Endeavor.This tree is on Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park. Because of its poetic beauty and wind-battered formation it was one of the most photographed trees in the USA. One does not need words to describe what this tree has endured for generations.

Jasper Pine, photograph, ©1940, Ansel Adams

Jeffery Pine, photograph, ©1940, Ansel Adams

As inspiration for my painting I used a photograph taken by Ansel Adams in 1940. At that time this Jeffrey Pine was considered to be 300-400 years old. Sadly this pine died between 1976-1977 due to environmental changes caused by drought.




jeffery pine

Jeffery Pine, Photograph by Mark Borneman

It stood until 2003 when it fell during a severe wind storm. Although I finished painting this tree just last month, I did not know that it had died until I started doing research for this post. It is a poignant loss for me. It makes me wonder what has happened over the years to other trees that I have painted.