“Behind the Eyes of a Dog” Artist Series: Blends Images of the Dog & His Forebears

“I ask the viewer to experience each painting at a distance, and then, as they approach, discover the hundreds of elements which make up the piece. In so doing, the viewer develops a new awareness and admiration for the beauty and intelligence of the wolf. They should ponder evolution and the hundreds of breeds of companions we enjoy today, all descended from the wolf. I want them to treasure the wolf as they do their dogs.” ~Diana J Smith, Artist’s Statement

“The Nature of Things” 40×30 mixed media collage. Diana J Smith fine artist.

I’ve followed the work of fine artist Diana J Smith for awhile now. You can view all of her work at http://www.dianajsmith.com

Behind the Eyes of a Dog http://www.dianajsmith.com

Artist’s Statement:

The inspiration for this body of work comes from the way dogs looks at you with intense concentration as if trying to understand your words or thoughts. I am intrigued by the intelligence and extreme focus in their eyes and the depth of their concentration as well as their beautiful noses, detecting smells we cannot even acknowledge.

All dogs evolved from mother wolf, and I suggest that by blending of images the dog with his kind and his forbearers. Embracing collage techniques, I collect countless pictures of dogs and wolves from old discarded books and magazines. As I begin each piece, I select several hundred of these images based on color and value; I cut out each one and adhere it to the canvas surface. When grouped together, these tiny pictures form a much larger image, the crux of the composition. My style is loose and suggestive with painted detail reserved for eyes and nose.

I ask the viewer to experience each painting at a distance, and then, as they approach, discover the hundreds of elements which make up the piece. In so doing, the viewer develops a new awareness and admiration for the beauty and intelligence of the wolf. They should ponder evolution and the hundreds of breeds of companions we enjoy today, all descended from the wolf. I want them to treasure the wolf as they do their dogs.

“Ancestor” 8×8 mixed media collage http://www.dianajsmith.com

“Heritage” 8×8 mixed media collage http://www.dianajsmith.com

“Past-Future” 18×18 mixed media collage http://www.dianajsmith.com

About artist Diana J Smith

Artis Diana J Smith

An Oklahoma native, Diana J. Smith received a BFA in painting from the University of Oklahoma. Her intense interest in masks led her into additional studies in anthropology.

Diana has exhibited in numerous juried, group, and solo shows and has won awards for her paintings, ceramics and masks. While Diana also enjoys pure abstraction, she is best known for her acrylic paintings of canines, enlivening her subjects with qualities of loyalty, humor, inquisitiveness, mystery and patience.

Diana created masks of leather during the 1980’s which are in private collections all over the country.

Represented by:

Worrell Gallery

103 Washington Ave.

Santa Fe, NM 87501

505.989.4900

sales@worrellgallery.com

JRB Art at the Elms

2810 N. Walker Ave.

Oklahoma City, OK 73103

405.604.6602

info@jrbartgallery.com

Marta Stafford Fine Art

200 Main Street

Marble Falls, Texas 78654

830.693.9999

info@martastaffordfineart.com

Beartooth Gallery Fine Art

110 S. Broadway Ave.

Red Lodge, MT 59068

406.446.1292

mail@beartoothgallery.com

Fringe Hunters: Living on the Edge of Morality

The death of ethics…

Wisconsin’s Gray wolves, credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Killing wild animals purely for sport is unethical and isn’t acceptable in this day & age. Yet, in the north woods of Wisconsin a few fringe hunters cling to sport-killing claiming it’s their heritage. Wisconsin’s Gray wolves are the only thing standing in the way of these fringe hunters. So every summer, year after year, they relentlessly harass gray wolves. Rendezvous sites are where gray wolves keep their young pups while they go off to hunt. Without any regard for these young pups, fringe hunters run their dogs through these sites in the pursuit of black bear. No doubt this careless act causes conflict, and dogs die. Caution is thrown to the wind, and the lust for violence takes precedent over morality.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources puts out wolf caution maps. Click here to view these wolf caution areas.

A couple decades ago Wisconsin began a compensation program to reimburse hunters for losses due to Gray wolves. Today it’s being abused. Abused through a lack of ethics because these same fringe hunters have worked to loosen regulations, making it easier to run dogs, unabated through Wisconsin’s north woods; demonstrating a lack morality, and their conduct isn’t anywhere near sportsmanlike!

“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” ~Aldo Leopold

Let’s bring Wisconsin back in line with the values that made us known as a leader in conservation! Bring back the heart in conservation and most of all acknowledging the, “land as a community to which we all belong!”

Please take action…

Write letters to the Editor:

A letter to the editor is one way to keep your social cause, in this case wolf advocacy, in the public eye through your local newspaper.  Every newspaper has a section for opinion editorials or letters to the editor, read as many letters to the editor until you feel comfortable and then get to work on writing one of your own letters. 

Ask for a meeting with your Wisconsin representatives:

https://legis.wisconsin.gov/ is the webpage that gets you to information about Wisconsin’s State Legislature.

Wisconsin State Governor https://evers.wi.gov/Pages/Home.aspx home page.

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board https://dnr.wi.gov/about/nrb/

Politicians have no Idea of the Gray Wolf’s Intrinsic Value to the Land…

… the party in power only values economic growth, and caters to special interests where the big money is concerned. In the featured photograph is a young gray wolf that was one of the last to die in Wisconsin’s wolf hunts that took for three years from 2012 to 2014. This young Gray wolf was taken by a wolf hunter using the barbaric practice of Wolf-Hounding; an age old hunting practice that pits large packs of dogs against a gray wolf.

This young male gray wolf was born far too late, his fate sealed by a hunter’s desire for an opportunity to shoot a trophy wolf for a pelt to be used as a rug by the fireplace or a mount for a game room.

It was a few decades ago that Wisconsin’s Gray wolf was placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, and Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program was born. When I became involved in the program in the year 2000 there were only 66 gray wolf packs in Wisconsin. Today’s Gray wolf population estimates are 945 individuals. I never imagined that Wisconsin would become so reckless in its management of the Gray wolf, but they did. In 2011 just a couple of months before USF&WS delisted them, Wisconsin legislators rushed through Act 169 designating grays wolves as a game animal to be hunted.

This is how the state of Wisconsin manages an endangered species just off the list. Is that not reckless?

Like naughty school boys, without batting an eye, or having any idea of the Gray Wolf’s intrinsic value upon our planet, politicians work to return management of Gray wolves to states like Wisconsin; where the party in power only values economic growth., and caters to special interests where big money is concerned.

Senator Barrasso is working to revise or rewrite the Endangered Species Act to accommodate extractive industries, such as oil & gas, mining and lumber. The majority in power is clearly trying to rewrite the Endangered Species Act in favor of big monied special interests that want the land (animal’s land it protects) and this would place endangered species in even more danger of extinction. Please be the voice for the Gray wolf. #ExtinctionIsForever

#GetInvolved like Ani Conrad from California! Post your selfie today!

Wisconsin politicians are pushing for state management of wolves… 

If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process. Until then we must work to keep wolves listed on the Endangered Species Act. 

The state has a law on the books that calls for a mandatory wolf hunt if they are delisted.  Wisconsin is the only state that allows the barbaric use of dogs to hunt wolves with no regulations in place; The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, charged with overseeing the wolf hunt, has no rules in place that require hound handlers to report dogs injured or killed in the pursuit of wolves during a hunt. In fact, there is no monitoring or certification program whatsoever in place for the use of dogs in the wolf hunt; thus the state has little ability to hold hound hunters accountable for training or hunting violations or to prevent deadly and inhumane wolf-dog confrontations (e.g., hunters allowing dogs to overtake and kill rifle-shot wolves). These circumstances explain why Wisconsin stands alone: using dogs to hunt wolves is no better than state-sponsored dog fighting. Source

Several politicians want state control of wolves.  Two Wisconsin state republican legislators are in favor of state management of wolves; Rep Adam Jarchow and senator Tom Tiffany along with US republican Senators Reid Ribble and Ron Johnson are pushing to delist wolves. Senator Tiffany stated in a recent news strory: 

“A state Senator is renewing his focus on delisting the wolf from the endangered species classification. State Senator Tom Tiffany wants U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to advocate for the change, and end what he calls “ping ponging” litigation over the issue.” Source

 State senator Tom Tiffany stated in a news story: 

“Tiffany and state Representative Representative Adam Jarchow – both Republicans – think Baldwin, a Democrat, could make a difference. “If some of her colleagues saw a Democrat like she is taking the lead on this issue, they would probably follow along,” Tiffany said.” Source

US senator Tammy Baldwin a democrat is in agreement of delisting wolves and in a recent statement said: 

“I have heard the voices of Wisconsinites who have real concerns about the increasing threat of our state’s growing wolf population. Farmers have found livestock injured and killed by wolves that are straying closer to their herds than in previous years. Families have lost pets. Parents have decided it’s no longer safe to let their kids play where they normally do.  These concerns, and the expertise of wildlife science, tell us we should take on the gray wolf problem in our state by acting again to delist the wolf from the Endangered Species List and pass management of the wolf back to the State of Wisconsin.”  Source

If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process. 

The push for state management comes after 37 hunting dogs were killed by wolves while in pursuit of bear. These politicians believe that Wisconsins growing wolf population is the cause of these conflicts. Yet there are some that question if wolves are the cause of bear hunting dog deaths. 
Adrian Wydeven, retired WI DNR wolf biologist, wrote in an opinion editorial:

“Do wolf numbers correlate with wolves killing hounds? The evidence suggests this might not necessarily be the case. In 2012, only seven dogs were killed and yet there were nearly as many wolves in 2012 as there were in 2016 (815 wolves in late winter 2012).  In other words, the wolf populations in 2012 and 2016 were similar, yet these two years represent the highest and the lowest numbers of hounds killed by wolves in the last 13 years. Obviously, there is more to this story than just more wolves killing more hounds.” Source

What could be the cause behind all the wolf depredations of hound hunting dogs if it is not due to an increases in wolf population?

Every summer hound hunting dogs lose there lives in pursuit of bear. This decades old conflict between  bear hunters and wolves continues today with no end in sight. Watch the following Wisconsin Public Television show that aired in 2010:

Wolves are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy. Recovery of wolves in the state began in the late 1970s. 

In 2015 there was a change made in bear hunting regulations and could this be the cause of the increase in wolf depredations of dogs in pursuit of bear?  In his recent opinion editorial Wydeven states:

“Could a change in bear hunting policy be a factor? Wisconsin is a major destination for bear hunting and training — with some of the highest bear densities and bear harvest success rates in the nation.  Prior to July 2015, people putting out bait and handling hounds used to train on bears were required to buy a Class B Bear Permit. The permit cost residents $14 and nonresidents $110. The permit and fees were eliminated in 2015 and now anyone can freely bait for bears, and train their dogs on bears. This may have increased baiting and training of dogs on bears in Wisconsin, putting more bear hunters and hounds in the hunt, especially from out-of-state residents with the license fee no longer a barrier. ” Source

 It’s no secret that there has been a few instances of wolf depredations on livestock, pets and bear hunting dogs. Wisconsin has a wolf depredation compensation program in place to compensate for these loses. For instance; there is a $2500.00 compensation payment to bear hunters that lose dogs to wolves while pursuing bears.  There are programs in place to aide livestock owners as well.  Watch the following video from the WI DNR wildlife depredations specialist:

In the west wolf advocates and ranchers have been coming together to work for non lethal ways to manage wolf depredation. 

“The group’s nonlethal experiment, known as the Wood River Wolf Project, is a collaboration with Blaine County officials in central Idaho, the United States Forest Service, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and some local partners who support alternative ways of protecting wolves in historic sheep-grazing country. The project covers 1,200 square miles, or around half of Blaine County, up from 120 at the program’s inception in 2008.” Source

I believe we must help Wisconsin livestock producers learn how to live with wolves and so I am working with Ian Whalan, inventor and Fauna Tomlinson, distributer of Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent that is making news all over the world, “Saving Lives with Lights.” Foxlights donated Five solar lights to the Red Cliff Reservation in northern Wisconsin, and I delivered the lights to the Red Cliff Biologist Jeremy St.Arnold. To learn more about Foxlights click HERE.

The recent national and state elections have tipped the scales of power towards one party control. What’s next for Wisconsin’s wild wolves?

US Senator Ron Johnson is preparing to introduce a wolf delisting bill in congress with democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin on board; could mean that other senate democrats will follow her lead, and sign onto Senator Johnson’s wolf delisting bill.  Please keep calling your senate representatives and ask them not sign onto any wolf delisting bills or riders. 

And, everyone is awaiting the decision on The USFW had a hearing to challenge a Judge putting wolves back on ESL on U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C. Who ruled in 2014 that the removal “was arbitrary and capricious and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.”  That was held on October 18, 2016.  

“Led by the Humane Society of the United States, environmentalists challenged the rule, arguing that FWS couldn’t designate a population segment under the Endangered Species Act just to turn around and remove protections. They also charged that FWS couldn’t show that wolves would be adequately protected from disease and human harm across a “significant portion” of their range without federal protections.” Source: HSUS 

If management of wolves is returned back into the state’s hands things must change about how they manage them. 

Senator Tammy Baldwin said in her statement:

“Delisting the wolf should not mean removing it from the landscape, but restoring a greater balance in rural communities. Many Wisconsinites have deeply felt beliefs about how the wolf population should be managed, and the health of the wolf population is of unique significance to Native American Tribes. I believe those debates deserve thoughtful and careful consideration by state and tribal wildlife experts, following a federal delisting.” Source

Please keep up the “positive” calls to Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office. It’s not to late to change the Senator’s mind about delisting the wolf. 


If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process. Wisconsinites must work together in the wolf management process. First things first; The state has a law on the books that calls for a mandatory wolf hunt if they are delisted and this law must be removed. 

2011 Wisconsin Act 169 states: If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.

The Wisconsin public must be fully vested in the process of wolf management.  When wolves were delisted in 2011 the Wisconsin legislature rushed in to create a wolf hunt. It’s no secret that the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association’s hands were all over the wolf hunt legislation. 

After removing the wolf hunt bill, act 169, Wisconsinites can begin the discussion or debates as to how best to manage wolves. This means listening to scientific evidence and leaving political rhetoric out of the debate on wolf management. We must find ways to live with wolves. A wolf hunt is not a way to manage an endangered species such as the iconic wolf. 

First of all, stay positive & work to keep wolves listed on the Endangered Species Act. Stay in contact with your state and federal representatives. 

Wolves have a positive impact on Wisconsin’s landscape. During the Wisconsin premiere of the award winning documentary “Medicine of the Wolf” Q&A panel discussion panel member Randy Jurewicz answered an audience question about wolf’s impact on CWD, watch the following video:

For how to purchase a copy of the film Medicine of the Wolf click HERE 

 Stay positive & please continue taking action for wolves:

Keep writing letters to the editor, keep calling your state and federal legislators, and call President Obama and ask him to veto extinction and to stop the attacks on the Endangered Species Act. Click here for ways to contact the White House

~~~

Featured image by John E Marriott

‘Behind the Eyes of a Dog’ by Artist – Diana J. Smith, 

‘Behind the Eyes of a Dog’ by Artist Diana J. Smith

The inspiration for this body of work comes from the way dogs looks at you with intense concentration as if trying to understand your words or thoughts. I am intrigued by the intelligence and extreme focus in their eyes and the depth of their concentration as well as their beautiful noses, detecting smells we cannot even acknowledge.

All dogs evolved from mother wolf, and I suggest that by blending of images the dog with his kind and his forbearers. Embracing collage techniques, I collect countless pictures of dogs and wolves from old discarded books and magazines. As I begin each piece, I select several hundred of these images based on color and value; I cut out each one and adhere it to the canvas surface. When grouped together, these tiny pictures form a much larger image, the crux of the composition. My style is loose and suggestive with painted detail reserved for eyes and nose.

 

I ask the viewer to experience each painting at a distance, and then, as they approach, discover the hundreds of elements which make up the piece. In so doing, the viewer develops a new awareness and admiration for the beauty and intelligence of the wolf. They should ponder evolution and the hundreds of breeds of companions we enjoy today, all descended from the wolf. I want them to treasure the wolf as they do their dogs.

Behind the Eyes of a Dog by Artist Diana J. Smith website