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When it comes to colour, nothing can surpass the vast palette found in nature, from a bright green leaf in a sun-dappled forest to the rich red feathers of a cardinal and the muted greens, ambers, and browns that make up the shell of a tortoise. Wildlife artist Peggy Macnamara has been recreating the natural world through her drawings and paintings for decades, and, with Nature's Portraits, she invites the rest of the world to join her.
Nature's Portraits offers sixty of Macnamara's detailed drawings that can be brought brilliantly to life with nothing more than a few coloured pencils or crayons and a sense of wonder about the world around us. Many of the drawings depict animals as they might appear in their natural habitats – like a tree frog, a dashing, playful fox, a snowy owl poised for flight, a sauntering jaguar, and a watchful herd of giraffe. These wild furry and feathered friends are joined by animals found in museums, including Sue, the Field Museum's resident Tyrannosaurus rex. Each illustration is captioned with a brief scientific description of the species pictured.
Combining inspiration from natural history with a calming, creative activity, Nature's Portraits encourages us to take a closer look at what we miss when we don't take the time to stop and look with deep appreciation at the bounty of the natural world around us.
Peggy Macnamara is adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; artist-in-residence and associate of the zoology program at the Field Museum; instructor at the Field Museum, Chicago Public Libraries Nature Connection, and Art Institute family programs; and the author of several books, including, most recently, The Art of Migration, also published by the University of Chicago Press.