RALEIGH — The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' Nature Art Gallery is pleased to present the work of North Carolina artist/illustrator/author, Anne Marshall Runyon in an exhibit entitled Natural Habitats opening First Friday, February 1, with a reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Runyon will be in attendance. The exhibit continues through Feb. 24.
These works on paper illustrate the range and diversity of natural habitats in North Carolina. "I love to learn about and illustrate our natural habitats,” Runyon says. “Habitats fascinate me with their complex stories about so many interconnected lives." She begins with a pencil sketch done in the field and then studies photographs and specimens. She frequently consults scientists and naturalists for help in understanding the behaviors and relationships she observes in nature. "Many talented scientists, naturalists, writers, editors and fellow artists are my teachers." She then develops a composition in India ink on Bristol paper using watercolor washes to create the large elements of ground, sky and water. She then adds details in ink and colored pencil as needed. Her habitat illustrations are similar to time-lapse photography in that they show all the wildlife one might see in a given habitat over a longer period of time. It underscores the value of these habitats to all the species that depend on them and each other.
The exhibit will also include paper sculptures of wild animals like those she creates each month for Wildlife in North Carolina magazine. They are extensions of her illustrative work into the third dimension and creating them are like, as she says, "drawing with scissors." She sketches the animal in several different poses first, then cuts one of the poses on scrap paper allowing ample volume to form it in space. It is a process that is more abstract and one that requires a certain amount of trial and error. She is often drawn to species that are under-appreciated like slugs, fungi, moles and snakes.
Runyon is author and illustrator of “The Sheltering Cedar,” (2008) a picture book set on Ocracoke Island, where she spent many summers exploring the natural world. She illustrated “North Carolina's Wild Places, A Closer Look,” a popular classroom book about North Carolina's natural habitats. A regular illustrator for Wildlife in North Carolina magazine, she won first place in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, in the 2008 illustration category of Magazine Merit Competition. Her work is used frequently to illustrate environmental education publications and is included in the Mountains to the Sea permanent exhibit in our Museum. She maintains active memberships in the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and a Master of Arts in Design from the University of Minnesota. Runyon lives in Raleigh and has made North Carolina her home since 1982.
The Nature Art Gallery is located on the top floor of the Museum Store, Main building. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4:45 p.m.; and open until 8:45 p.m. on First Fridays. All exhibited art is for sale. For more information about the Nature Art Gallery, call 919.707.9854.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh documents and interprets the natural history of the state through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sun., noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit the Museum online at www.naturalsciences.org . The Museum is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary.