Love of nature artfully expressed at Baltimore Woods March exhibit
BY Karen Jean Smith
Love of nature is artfully expressed by two artists, Diana Whiting and Gail Norwood at Baltimore Woods Nature Center from March 2 through April 25. “Natural Passions,” an exhibit of photographs and drawings, will be on display in the art gallery of the John A. Weeks Interpretive Center at 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus. The public is invited to attend the reception on Saturday, March 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. In addition, the show will be available for viewing Mondays – Fridays, 9 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 to 4 p.m. There are no admission or parking fees, and all art work will be for sale.
Diana Whiting has had a passion for photography since the moment she bought her first Nikon camera in 1994 and finds it a perfect pairing with her appreciation for nature. Indeed, she hopes that through sharing her work, people will be inspired towards more efforts in conservation.
According to Whiting, photography gives one the opportunity to tell a story and for her, that usually involves a commitment of time and patience to observe and learn. Fox are among her favorite animals and she counts herself fortunate to have been able to spend some time with them. Respect for their space and habits is essential, and if she finds that feedings and tending to young are in any way disturbed by her presence, she leaves the scene, so these activities can resume. Her favorite photo, one of three kits each of whose eyes have been lit by the day’s last rays of sun, was taken during six weeks of quiet observation.
Featured artist Gail Furth Norwood does nature photography but with a different end goal. Her artistry is in her drawings and she uses her photos of birds and wildlife as reference material for her soft renderings in pastel, graphite, and colored pencil. Like Whiting, she has coupled two things that bring her joy – nature and art making.
Norwood’s interest in wildlife began early. Having spent part of her childhood in the countryside outside of Skaneateles, she was able to have all sorts of animals including baby snapping turtles, a baby robin that sat on her shoulder, and even an injured red-tailed hawk. (Times were different, and presently, it is illegal to possess wild animals without a permit, so she recommends contacting rehabilitation centers for injured animals.)
Her early experiences with wildlife left their mark, and today you will find Norwood at two nature centers where most of her time is spent working with raptors. At Tanglewood Nature Center, where she has volunteered for five years, her favorite is a red-tailed hawk by the name of Hank and she also works with and teaches about a merlin and a great horned owl. She recently began volunteering at Cayuga Nature Center with both a red-tailed hawk and a turkey vulture.
Gail Norwood is a retired critical care nurse currently living in Cayuta, north of Ithaca. She is vice president of the Chemung Valley Audubon Society, and volunteers at the Lab of Ornithology at Sapsucker Woods.
Diana Whiting lives in Skaneateles and recently retired from her own business, Headquarters, after 40 years. She is the recipient of several awards, including second place from the National Audubon Society, and her work has appeared in numerous publications including the National Wildlife Federation Magazine.