By Rhonda Franks
Growing up in rural southwestern Ontario gave me a deep appreciation for wildlife and its environment. Two legs or four, fur and feathers, to me, they all have beauty and value. I spend endless summer days outside exploring the natural world with the remainder of my time spent drawing what I see. On some occasions, nature has granted me personal time with animals in need. Having encountered unique species in distress then resettling them into proper care, I’ve come to learn and appreciate their value even more.
It would seem only natural that when it came to choosing my career path I would have chosen art, which I did – for one semester. It was quickly apparent that a formal fine art education was not for me. I felt stifled and inadequate and questioned what “good” I could do as an artist.
Enter the scenic route. I began to study sociology, focusing on criminology, even volunteering with offenders. This path drained me as I internalized their struggles. Before long I was doubting my choices and turned again to art as the one thing that could rejuvenate me. A design class in the fourth year rekindled my creativity and passion for art. After finishing my degree, I enrolled in a 2-year graphic design course and started back onto my path.
A serious car accident gave me the final push to start painting and doing what I loved. This renewed passion continues to create opportunities for me to expand my abilities and influence including attending and co-organizing workshops with renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman, having my work accepted into prestigious national and international art shows at the Bennington in Vermont and Ontario’s McMichael Canadian Art Gallery, as well as being featured in ongoing support of Ducks Unlimited Canada and in publications such as Southwest Art Magazine, and AcrylicWorks 2 – Radical Breakthroughs.
Originally posted 2016-04-18 01:25:40.