Wolf set came to our factory via a wonderful collaboration with a truly wild & free artist and our ambassador Victoria Parsons. Here is Vicki’s wolf story. Make some tea and enjoy!
Victoria Parsons – My Memories Of The Times I Spent Painting Wolves
I have been a wildlife and Nature Artist all my life and have studied a huge variety of subjects.
The most exciting time of my life was when I spent time at a Wolf Conservation Centre which was an hour and a half away from where I live.
My husband bought me a “Wolf Experience” Birthday gift which very quickly turned into regular visits over the next two years. I would use these visits to draw and take photographs of the pack. During one visit I was approached by one of the directors who asked if I would be interested in volunteering to join the core team of people who looked after the wolves on a daily basis. Would I be Interested? Absolutely I would!!!
Over the next four and a half years this was to become a regular weekly Monday trip with most weekends during the Spring, Summer, and Autumn helping with public visits.
My Monday shift began at 8 am when I would take over from the night shift. I left home at 6.30 am to make the hour and a half journey. This was fine in the Spring, Summer, and Autumn but not so good in the winter when it was dark, foggy, icy, and snowy. However, the excitement of being with the wolves took over the thought of a long early morning drive.
Once my chores had been completed the rest of my time was my own, which of course I would spend drawing and painting the members of the pack.
The Wolf Society was not a Zoo Park but an educational facility for those who wished to study and observe wolves such as Veterinary surgeons, Zoologists, Photographers, Film organisations and Educators. Late spring, summer and early Autumn the site was open for restricted public visits and could only be arranged by appointment.
I arranged summer day workshops called “The Art of The Wolf” where artists could come and learn how to draw the wolves. I did this to help raise funds for Balkani Wildlife Society in Bulgaria which was one of the charities that the centre supported. Apart from these visits the site and pack were undisturbed apart from those who looked after them. The site was manned 24 hours a day 365 days of the year.
During my time there I was lucky enough to experience over night shifts. I was quite nervous to start with as the site was secluded. However, we were very well protected with security cameras all around the compound and pens that were active all the time. We had floodlights, sirens, and phone links to police and the director’s homes. This was all very reassuring.
On my first night shift, I was suddenly woken at 2.30 am by the pack howling!! I shot out of my sleeping bag and quickly checked all the cameras on the screen for any movements or breaches in the pens or perimeter fences around the compound. All was sound and safe. It was the pack just having a group howl, so I got back into my sleeping bag and listened to their songs, and drifted back to sleep, Occasionally I would go outside and sit on the grass and watch and listen but as the weather got colder it was nicer to more comfortable in my cosy sleeping bag.
I learnt many things about wolves from my colleagues and from my own personal observations. The first thing I learnt was that wolves do not specifically howl at the moon; they howl at any time. It’s their way of communicating with each other and how the Alpha brings the pack together.
Wolves are generally afraid of humans and would rather keep away from us. In the wild, you could walk past them and not even realise as they stay well hidden. They do not identify us as prey, however, like all large predators wolves can be dangerous if cornered, injured, sick, provoked, or have become fearless of humans due to habituation. Behaving respectfully when around nature is a must in regard to all wild animals.
Unfortunately, the wolf has a bad reputation from stories handed down through the ages. We only have to think of the children’s stories about the “Big Bad Wolf” that ate grandmother dressed up in her night clothes and jumped into bed to trick Little Red Riding Hood, or the story of the Three Little Pigs where the wolf blew the houses down and who climbed down the chimney to eat the pigs for its dinner. There are of course many more of these tales and over the last few years even movies where the wolf sadly has been central to the story.
The times I treasure are the times where I would sit on the grass outside the pens with my sketchbook or a painting that I would be working on, and one of the male wolves would come over and lay down the other side of the fence, so close that I could feel the heat from his body. It took me by surprise the first time it happened. My heart raced and I wanted to instinctively jump back out of the way. Soon my confidence grew and I was happy to sit by him or I should say he was happy to come over and sit by me. I would never look at him directly into his eyes as this is a threatening action, I would just look slightly down and to the side.
Sadly the pack has now died out through old age, but the memories still remain of the times I spent with these beautiful animals. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Wolf is an artwork by Vicki.
This beautiful wolf set consists or 6 watercolor half-pans in a tin with a hinged lid. Colors used by Victoria to paint her wolf:
- Raw sienna
- Blueberry from the Forest set
- Light umbra from Umbra trio
- Burnt sienna
- Pigeon from Winter birds
- Rūta’s dream
Mixes nicely with other natural and human-made pigments. For best performance add a few drops of water some minutes before starting to work with it. It will reactivate the pigment and will be more fluid.
All our watercolors are handmade from pigment or pigment mixes, binders, and essential oils as conservative. Binder is made by ourselves from gum arabic, natural honey, and water. Our watercolors have a flowery scent, with lemongrass as the top note and sandalwood in the base note.