Back in September for International Vulture Awareness day, Karyn volunteered at the Peregrine Fund's World Center for the Birds of Prey. She volunteered to lead a kid's painting of a California Condor. She signed me up as her dutiful assistant (summary of the event can be found here). Apparently we did a good enough job as they contacted us again for a repeat. Today was our day to be back out in front of 50 to 100 kids, trying to manage the chaos. Somehow we survived... I think...
There were quite a few more families that came through today than last September. In addition, the average age of our guest artists was significantly lower than last fall. Regardless, they were very successful in completing a new painting today and completing one that was just started last time. The work is spectacular considering the average age of the guest artists was significantly less than ten years old.
As with the last time we did this, Karyn had sketched the design onto a blank canvas. Actually, this was one she had prepared for last September, that we didn't quite get to.
We were busy right from the start. Just minutes after opening, while we were still trying to get set up, paint was flying on the canvas. The event was a family day and had been promoted broadly. A local radio station was onsite as were food vendors. The admission was free as well. Anyway, the crowds didn't let up all day long.
We had a photograph that the painting was based on and Karyn had painted a small rendition herself to help the young artists extrapolate from a highly detailed picture down to a handful of paint colors. My job was to replace the water in the trays, clean the brushes, provide crowd management, and occasionally provide some basic painting tasks to the artists. Some parents left the management up to us, while others jumped in to lend a hand or offer encouragement.
With the first painting complete, we returned to the second painting that was started back in September but not finished. This painting was of two Rüppell's Vultures from Kenya.
It was a big day and both Karyn and I are exhausted. However, the investment was well worth the effort. Exposing this many families to the world of wild birds is outstanding. Watching young people take a true interest in raptors is priceless. This should definitely help with the mission of the Peregrine Fund. We are happy that in our own small way we can contribute to their very successful programs of conservation.
The completed paintings are on display at the Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey.