Don Balke

American (1933)

About the artist:

Don gets his artistic inspiration directly from the source - nature. We've traveled extensively, crisscrossing the USA and Canada (coast to coast and north to south) on motorcycle, experiencing all the variations in climate caused by elevation, streams, trees, and weather. We love the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada, and the challenging colors of canyons and deserts. Traveling this way, we've developed great respect for the strength of the pioneers that was needed to endure their journey, and a better understanding of wildlife and the rigors of their existence. We left the motorcycle at home to visit Hawaii and Alaska as we did more research and photography in preparation for the "Animals of the 50 States" paintings sanctioned by the National Audubon Society, the "Wildlife of the 50 States" issued through the National Wildlife Federation, and several other "50 States" commissions. That's a lot of paintings! Don also had a commission of African wildlife paintings. To do research and photography for that, we went on a 2-week camping safari in Tanzania. Traveling in a 4-wheel drive truck, equipped for weeks in the bush, we were able to visit areas not usually available to visitors. It was an immensely successful journey in terms of research and photography, and an extraordinary experience in a very beautiful land. Don did more painting series. One of those, was Wildlife of the National Parks. So, our travels took us to see many of our national parks - from Alaska to the Virgin Isles and from Maine to California. Then there was a series of endangered animals... Working in transparent watercolor and a touch of gouache, Don takes all that inspiration and brings the splendid and profuse colors of nature into his paintings. The depth he is able to obtain with this medium, as well as the clarity and detail, all contribute to the vitality of his distinctive style. While realism and authenticity are an integral part of his watercolor paintings, they're much more than just animal studies. Getting up close to a Balke painting is like getting up close to the creature itself in its own environment. A frequent comment is that they're "real enough to touch." He's pleased that this living quality is perceived by people who view his art. Don captures the timeless language of nature in his paintings, and feels well-rewarded in knowing that others are enjoying his work with him. ~ Bobbie During Don's most productive period, late 1970 into the 1980s, he painted hundreds of philatelic cover cachets. Here are some of the series for which he was commissioned by Fleetwood, for the National Wildlife Federation or the National Audubon Society: Birds and Flowers of Canada 1978 Wildlife of the 50 States 1979 Animals of the 50 States 1980 Songbirds of the 50 States 1981 Waterbirds of the 50 States 1983 Baby Wildlife of the 50 States 1984 Birds and Flowers of the 50 States 1985

Don Balke

American (1933)

(2 works)

About the artist:

Don gets his artistic inspiration directly from the source - nature. We've traveled extensively, crisscrossing the USA and Canada (coast to coast and north to south) on motorcycle, experiencing all the variations in climate caused by elevation,

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