Artist Profile: Carol Guzman
Written by Steve Doherty
When Montana artist Carol Guzman talks about her paintings during the 1st Annual PleinAir Convention & Expo from April 12-15, 2012, her message will be as much about environmental conservation as it will be about painting plants, animals and places.
Guzman shares many of her thoughts in a feature article included in the winter issue of PleinAir magazine that will be mailed in early December. “Artists who love the landscape and see the benefits of living in nature need to be concerned about what is taking place,” she says emphatically. In her quiet yet deliberate and effective way, Guzman is expressing her concern through her paintings and her active involvement with several conservation groups that educate the public, raise money and speak on behalf of the plants and animals at risk. “I focus on the plants and animals we see every day — robins, seagulls, rabbits, finches, blackbirds — because they are often overlooked. The more I understand about the interdependence of living things, the more I recognize that we can’t take any of nature’s wonders for granted,” she says.
In focusing on the less obvious plants and animals, Guzman says she “wanders and wonders” about nature, an activity that led her and her husband, Clyde Aspevig, to the founding of landsnorkel.com. According to their website, “land snorkeling is taking the time to savor aspects of nature we ordinarily don’t see or pay attention to. Land snorkelers wander through nature with no intention of hiking to a destination. Each blade of grass, rock, or creature has some connection to us. ”Similarly, she has been supportive of the annual events sponsored by The American Prairie Foundation called BioBlitz in which teams of volunteer scientists, students, teachers, families and community members work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi and other organisms as possible within a 24-hour period. “It’s an eye-opening experience to realize the diversity found just in ones backyard, provided one takes the time to look.
“You begin to understand the complexity and fragility of nature when you spend time with entomologists, biologists, ornithologists and others who dedicate their lives to the study of living things,” Guzman explains. “For example, I recently went on a nature walk led by an entomologist that lasted almost four hours and yet the group only walked about 300 feet into a wooded area,” she recalls. “The entomologist described every plant and insect, the markings on the leaves, the flies pollinating flowers and the patterns in the soil as she helped us understand what a complex and fascinating world we live in.” For more information, read the winter issue of PleinAir or visit Guzman’s website at www.carolguzman.com.
Waxwings in the Junipers, by Carol Guzman, 2009, oil, 14 x 11
Sparrows in Pink, by Carol Guzman, 2010, oil, 20 x 24. Courtesy West Wind Fine Art, Falmouth, Massachusetts
Female Bullock’s Oriole, by Carol Guzman, 2011, oil, 14 x 9. Courtesy West Wind Fine Art, Falmouth, Massachusetts