AFC Blog - Featuring compelling articles by nature art and conservation leaders

AFC's Blog

At AFC, our vision is to lead a global artistic movement that inspires individuals and organizations to preserve and sustain our natural heritage by uniting the talent and passion of the world’s most gifted nature artists. This blog has been created as a means for AFC leadership to share thoughts and expertise about topics relating to art and conservation, featuring regular articles by AFC President, Jeff Whiting, and a range of guest bloggers.

Posted on Saturday, October 3, 2020 by AFC
Artists for Conservation

Vancouver, British Columbia – (Oct 3, 2020) -  Artists for Conservation (AFC) is excited to announce the launch of the 2020 Virtual Exhibit on its online gallery, showcasing original paintings and sculptures for sale in support of conservation, from its latest annual exhibit. The unveiling coincides with the 10th annual Artists for Conservation Festival, running October 1-4 at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada. 

This year’s exhibit features 200 artworks by 168 artists from 17 countries. At least 40% of proceeds from artwork sales benefits conservation and environmental education, and each artwork is dedicated to supporting a conservation organization of the artist's choice.

AFC Founder and President Jeff Whiting explains, "For our 10th anniversary Artists for Conservation Festival, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to expand our virtual exhibit both technologically and...

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Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2020 by AFC

This May, the art world lost one of its great talents and a dear friend of our organization and a great many of its members.  A giant in the world of wildlife art, a world traveler, historian and writer, John was an inspiration and role model to so many who knew him.


Our heartfelt condolences to John's family and in particular to his wife Suzie – also an AFC member and John's completing half in life, art, exploration and the natural world. In 2014, John and Suzie, jointly received AFC’s highest honor - the Simon Combes Award for Conservation – for their many years of contributions and support for conservation. He was also a member of AFC’s Advisory Board.

With work hanging in the White House, as well as Museum collections, private homes, and assemblages all around the world, John Seerey-Lester is world renowned as one of the top wildlife artists on the planet. 

Known for constantly changing his game, several years ago he started the “Legends of the Hunt” book series.  He wrote all the true stories and he created over 100 images for each of the three books (Legends of the Hunt, Campfire Tales, and The Legendary Hunts of Theodore Roosevelt).  His fourth book Legendary Hunters and Explorers will be published later this year.   John’s favorite thing to paint was Theodore Roosevelt, and was named “The Preeminent modern-day painter of Theodore Roosevelt.

He was Knighted by His Imperial and Royal Highness, Archduke Andreas of Austria for his work in conservation.  In addition to his accolades as an AFC member, the Society of Animal Artist presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.  He was also just received the NRA’s Hunter’s Leadership Forum Award, for his work in conservation. This is just a few of the numerous awards he won.

John was generous with his time and talents.  He has been Master or Featured Artist for nearly every major wildlife show both in the US and the UK over the past 42 years.  He and Suzie taught wilderness wildlife workshops for the past 20 years, helping new artist as well as professional artists become better at their craft.

John was truly a force to be reckoned with, his sketchbooks and sketchpads are filled with ideas that were yet to be painted.  His passion was painting, every waking second of the day.    His legacy will continue.

Wishing John Godspeed in his next great adventure. You will be missed.

Artists for Conservation
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2019 by AFC

Join two internationally renowned artists, Gregory Wellman and Karen Laurence-Rowe in November 2020 on a safari expedition catering to artists, photographers and conservationists. This safari will support two conservation organizations - Artists for Conservation and Soysambu Conservancy. 

The 2020 AFC Kenya Fundraiser Safari is organized by Jackson's African Safaris with artists, photographers and conservationists in mind. The trip is hosted by founder Timothy Jackson and painter and conservationist Gregory Wellman. In addition, internationally renowned conservation artist Karen Laurence-Rowe (based in Nairobi, Kenya) will join three days of the adventure, sharing her experience and inspiring stories. 


    Your Art Host: Gregory Wellman  | Tour Leader/Host: Timothy Jackson

Overland & Fly-in Safari Options – November 15th – 27th, 2020

Registration deadline: December 1st, 2019

Organized by: Jackson's African Safaris 

Download Brochure with Pricing (PDF)


The safari will also include many other destinations in Kenya including; Nairobi`s David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage & the Giraffe Center, a boat trip on Lake Naivasha, Nakuru National Park, Samburu National Park and the famed Maasai Mara Game Reserve – Gregory Wellman & Timothy Jackson will accompany the group as tour hosts. We will have local professional driver guides taking care of us, allowing Timothy and Gregory to give their full attention to everyone, sharing their passion. 10% of the proceeds from each participant directly supports conservation. 

Timothy first visited Soysambu in the year 2000, before it became a conservancy, and most recently in 2018 with Guy Combes creating the vision and purpose for these safaris. These safaris provide a significant contribution to conservation. 

This is AFC's second safari fundraiser with Jackson's African Safaris to Kenya. 2019's safari with artist Guy Combes raised $6,800 for conservation and education. Learn more

This adventure will include visits to Soysambu Conservancy, where you will have a chance to observe and participate in the conservation project that Guy Combes is involved with: The Boma Project, which protects the Cattle of Soysambu from Lions, and in turn protects the Lions to co-exist with farming and people, this will be your chance to see where some of the money raised is spent first hand, and see the value and importance of community supported tourism in Kenya. 

Please contact Timothy Jackson for more information:



About Gregory Wellman

Winner of Best in Show, Association of Animal Artists 2013
Featured on Sky Art’s Portrait Artist of the Year 2013
Shortlisted for Artists & Illustrator Magazine’s Artist of the Year 2015

Gregory Wellman grew up in England, always fascinated by nature, roaming the countryside and investigating the rivers and rock pools in his hometown of Lyme Regis. His boyhood love of the wildlife of Africa was reignited in 2005 with his first visit to Kenya with fellow AFC artist Steve Burgess. The land, the birds, the animals and the Maasai people inspired drawings, paintings and exhibitions since then. After reaching the top of Kilimanjaro on his fortieth birthday, Gregory went on to have two solo exhibitions in Arusha, Tanzania, and was the first Artist in Residence at the Cultural Heritage Centre there. He continued to visit the region two to three times a year, running a number of workshops and demonstrations of his Wildlife and Maasai paintings, and was featured in International Artist Magazine. In 2013 Gregory finally realized his dream of running his own art safari, sharing his love of painting and sketching in the National Parks and private conservancies; teeming with elephant, giraffe, buffalo and all the other plains' game of East Africa. As well as wildlife art, Gregory is a lover of portraiture. He produced a series of works on the Maasai people and was featured on TV's Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. A solo exhibition in the UK featured his Maasai paintings and tied in with a cultural visit by a touring group of Maasai from Kenya.

Gregory regularly runs workshops, gives talks and demonstrates his painting in the UK and Vancouver, Canada. His love of painting has taken him to many other places including the Hollywood Hills, New Zealand and Southwest France where he leads an annual summer art holiday.

He is a member of Artists For Conservation Foundation and has raised money for a variety of wildlife charities, as well as donating artwork to the annual Artists For Survival's fundraising auction in London. Gregory hopes that his art, enthusiasm and joy for experiencing and painting the natural world will contribute in some way to protecting what we still have. To help promote meaningful projects that work for the benefit of all. And by being a host of this safari he also hopes to inspire others to do the same. "As a member of AFC, I aspire to share with you all the great work being achieved by our members; real projects and fundraising initiatives that actually do make a difference in the world today. And you can be a part of that movement with this safari, all are welcome, whether you are an artist, photographer or simply someone who wants to experience an unforgettable adventure whilst contributing to amazing conservation projects!" Join us on this journey of ACTION... in protecting Africa's wildlife today!

About Karen Laurence-Rowe

Winner Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012
Recipient of the AFC Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award 2015
David Shepherd Personal Choice award 2017

Born in Uganda, daughter to a civil engineer, her family lived almost a nomadic existence, moving around East Africa to wherever a road or a bridge was needed.  Home, in those early years was often a prefab wooden site house with lions and hyenas breaking the sounds of the night and constant attacks on the chicken house by various beasts!  With no towns or cities around for hundreds of miles, Karen and her siblings would draw to entertain themselves. These memories of Africa’s virtually unspoiled landscapes, teeming with game and magnificent views, were to influence her subject matter as an artist in later years.  Although Karen is most well-known for painting African Wildlife – She is just as interested in capturing the landscapes, seascapes and the people of the country she is in.  She is extremely versatile in medium and style and can switch easily from oils into watercolors or charcoal.

Karen’s paintings grace the walls of many an art lover both in Kenya, where she lives, and in homes all over the world.  She paints from her Studio in Nairobi which enables her to get into the field regularly to sketch and photograph the wildernesses that she so loves.   Karen's concern for what it happening to the wildlife and the landscapes around her is reflected deeply in her work.   She regularly donates to conservation.


“I help where I can because it terrifies me that as fast as I can paint the beautiful beasts and vistas of this continent, they are as quickly disappearing to the pressures of humanity and poaching.  I feel the need to record it in paint before it is lost to us forever.”  -Karen Laurence-Rowe  

We often feel powerless in knowing how to support a future for all our amazing wildlife and the places they roam; the decision to take a safari in Africa can have a positive or negative impact!  Our knowledge & expertise can ensure your visit counts in leaving a positive legacy, where you will see first-hand your money making a difference.  If you would like to learn how to participate please take the time to contact me and we can make a difference together. - Timothy Jackson 


Credit: Images provided by the artist or Jackson African Safari.


Artists for Conservation
Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2019 by AFC

Congratulations to Michael Pape for raising over $50,000.00 to benefit the registered charity Endangered Species Fund of Canada (ESFC), through his exclusive limited edition fine art reproductions and the ESFC Sealed Bid Auction Fundraising Program. 100% of the funds raised goes to help animals, as well support ESFC environmental and wildlife conservation initiatives.

Each time a Michael Pape original painting or limited edition fine art reproduction is acquired, purchasers are collaborating in a greater mission to be a voice for animals that don't have a voice of their own.

To learn more about Endangered Species Fund of Canada or to donate visit:

See more of Michaels artwork.

Pictured here: Michael Pape with Christa Klose President of Jungle Cat World and The Endangered Species Fund of Canada.



Artists for Conservation
Posted on Friday, September 13, 2019 by AFC

The 2019 AFC Festival opens Satuday, September 14 at Maplewood Flats Nature House in North Vancouver (2649 Dollarton Highway, NV) Join AFC for two days of art, music and wildlife in a beautiful natural setting.

Get a sneak peak at some of the activities coming in two weeks time. Come face-to-face with a bird of prey, enjoy the new "Pacific Coast Portraits" exhibit and sale featuring local AFC artists' work. FREE admission. 

Live music and performances with:

  • Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos 
  • Thomas Beckman
  • John Gilliat
  • William Nahanee
Art demos by: 
  • Vicky Earle
  • Rick Harry (Xwalacktun)
  • Ken Nash
  • Joyce Trygg

The artwork of:

Gaye Adams
Rob Butler
Bryan Coombes
Vicky Earle
Neil Hamelin
James Harry
Rick Harry (Xwalacktun)
Mark Hobson
Laura Levitsky
Denis Mayer Jr.
Ken Nash
Ronald Straight
Joyce Trygg
Jeffrey Whiting

Proceeds from print sales support the artist, Artists for Conservation, and Wild Bird Trust of BC.
And live birds of prey with: 
  • OWL Rehabilitation Society
Hosted in partnership with the Wild Bird Trust of BC and North Vancouver Recreation & Culture.

Artists for Conservation
Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2019 by AFC

AFC artist and 2018 recipient of the Simon Combes Award (AFC's highest honor), Guy Combes is leading an art safari in Kenya now, with several Artists for Conservation members and supporters in-tow. Jackson's African Safaris (Timothy Jackson) organized the expedition to raise funds and support for AFC, the Soysambu Conservancy's Boma Project and a new film about the lions of Soysambu.

The two safaris are scheduled for this summer. The safaris also include many other destinations in Kenya including; Samburu National Park, Lewa Conservancy, Nakuru National Park and the famed Maasai Mara Game Reserve guided by BBC Big Cat Live Series presenter Jackson Looseyia in the Maasai Mara.  Guy will accompany the group as tour host, with the perspective of an artist who has been celebrating the wildlife of East Africa his whole life.  The group is also visiting locations that inspired Guy's father, Simon Combes, and observe the great legacy he left behind with his work as an artist and conservationist.  These safaris provide a significant contribution to conservation. 

Will Richardson (co-producer of AFC's first two films) is embedded with the group. If you haven't already seen it, check out AFC's second documentary film (below) about Soysambu and legendary artist, Simon Combes (Guy's father). 

A special thanks goes out to Jackson African Safari, Timothy Jackson and AFC artist Guy Combes for sharing the Artists for Conservation group experiences through Africa. We are so proud to be a part of the #bomasafari2019 journey. Jackson Safari is donating 10% ($6,800 USD) of the proceeds of this trip to Artists for Conservation education and conservation programs, including directly supporting for the Boma Project as well as a new film. Thank you to Will Richardson for capturing this trip and producing a new documentary film on Soysambu Conservancy to help get the word out to support the cause. Thank you to all those who contributed to make this possible. We wish the group a safe and inspiring journey.

Photos by Will Richardson

For more information, visit Soysambu ConservancyJackson African Safari's
Contact Timothy Jackson for details:   +1-250-509-1039
Jackson African Safaris (JAS) is independently owned company. The Safaris are being wholly organized and operated by JAS.   


Artists for Conservation
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Posted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 by AFC

Vancouver, BC., CANADA - May 9, 2019 - Artists for Conservation (AFC) is pleased to announce a new partnership and special exhibit tour at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg, Florida. The exhibit is scheduled to run from March through May, 2021, and featuring artwork from the 2020 edition of AFC's annual juried exhibit.

The James museum first opened its doors to the public in 2018, The museum was founded by American billionaire businessman, and chairman of Raymond James Financial, Thomas James and wife, Mary. The museum's permanent colloection includes thousands of pieces from the James' collection, including both contemporary and traditional works. The 84,000 square foot (~8000 m2) facility features 30,000 sq. ft of gallery space, an auditorium, museum shop and café. The museum is centrally located, near the waterfront and business districts and a short walk from another major artistic attraction - the Salvador Dalí Museum.

AFC President and Founder Jeff Whiting explains, "We're excited to be partnering with a new world-class institution on the nature and wildlife art landscape. St. Petersburg, like the museum edifice itself offers a beautiful venue for our signature annual tour program. We're looking forward to sharing the conservation message through some of the best contemporary nature and wildlife art in the world today." 

St. Petersburg (aka. "St. Pete") is known for its beautiful weather and sunshine (361 days per year average), as well as its picturesque waterfront and vibrant arts scene. In 2011, American Style magazine ranked it as top mid-size city in the USA. 

For more information about the James Museum, visit their website at

Artists for Conservation
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Posted on Friday, April 5, 2019 by AFC

We're pleased to announce the opening of our second Silent Skies Mural touring exhibit at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

A full replica display will be installed in the Baldwin Education Building and unveiled on May 25, 2019. The exhibit will remain in place for public viewing through September 29 of this year. 

See the mural online

Artists for Conservation
Posted on Saturday, March 2, 2019 by AFC

AFC Signature Member, Stephen Jesic was recently recognized by the Art Renewal Center (ARC) is pleased to welcome Stephen Jesic as an ARC Associate Living Master. ARC's primary mission is to promote a return of skill-based training, standards and excellence in the visual arts, with a particular emphasis on realism.

Stephen has been an artist from his youth, and it has been now more than twenty years since he was able to devote his life full-time to painting. During that time he has exhibited extensively in his native Australia, and become celebrated not only for his extraordinary depictions of wildlife, but for his phenomenal technique in bringing animals to life. He has lectured and written about his innovations in using the medium of acrylics to render the finest detail, while at the same time suggesting an atmospheric setting for his subjects. Like the great naturalist-artists of the past, Jesic studies his models intensely. His paintings are as much individual portraits, as they are scientific representations of the species seen in their native habitats.

Visit Stephen's website.

Artists for Conservation
Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by AFC

Vancouver, British Columbia –  (January 16, 2019) Artists for Conservation (AFC) is pleased to announce the first outdoor installation of the "Silent Skies Mural Project" in the city of Kingsport, Tennessee - a 24-foot by 50 foot-long representation of the massive collaborative project unveiled last August at the 27th  International Ornithological Congress and 8th Artists for Conservation Festival. Like the original, this waterproof vinyl version showcases the 678 species birds from around the world that are threatened with extinction. Work is underway now to install the the Kingsport mural reproduction, where it will be remain on display for most of 2019.

"As an organization, our efforts are rooted in bringing awareness to global conservation issues. With this in mind, the opportunity to involve artists from around the world in a collaborative conservation-based project only made sense," said AFC Founder and President Jeff Whiting. "The project involves over 160 artists from 15 countries and will be touring internationally in various configurations through 2022."

The main purpose of the mural is to bring awareness to endangered species of birds. Whiting further shares "A selection of world-class institutions will be invited to display the original, however the mural is also available for tour in an outdoor vinyl version, as well as a full-sized canvas print replica. "

We continue to raise funds through online sales of canvas prints, where a large portion of the proceeds supports conservation education among youth, as well as bird conservation directly. You an browse the mural online and gift a print while supporting conservation.

Announcements will be made in the coming weeks and months about other pending locations and new partnerships hosting the "Silent Skies" mural.

Through international art exhibits, collaborative art-science projects and expeditions, an annual festival, awards and publications, AFC is dedicated to supporting wildlife and habitat conservation and environmental education through art that celebrates nature. The festival itself is a multi-day art and environmental education event, featuring a world-class conservation themed art exhibit with leading international, and regional artists, films, live art demos, music and cultural performances.

For more information about the mural and to inquire about hosting the mural, visit to request an exhibit prospectus.


Artists for Conservation
Posted on Monday, January 14, 2019 by AFC

On the 29th. of November, AFC Signature Member, Sunita Dhairyam was feted for her work in conserving tigers in India.

Dhairyam is both an accomplished artist and the founder of the Mariamma Charitable Trust, based in the  Western Ghats in southwest India, on the edge of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The organization's works to save tigers and other wildife through habitat protection and supporting local communities. 

Attending the award ceremony were: the Hon. Mr. Ramnath Rai, Minister of Forests and Environment; Mr. Sridhar, Head of the Forest Force Karnataka (HOFF); Mr. Jayaram, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) of Karnataka; and  Mr. Ambadi Mahadav, Conservator of Forests (Bandipur). Ms. Dhairyam was presented with a plaque in a ceremony that placed her in the seat of the state legislature of Karnataka.

This award acknowledged her wildlife conservation work in The Bandipur Tiger Reserve area, where she works with rural communities to curb human/wildlife conflict. Karnataka now has the largest number of wild tigers in India - the country that  has the largest number of wild tigers in the world. 

For more information about Sunita Dhairyam, visit her AFC website. For more information about the Mariamma Charitable Trust, visit

Artists for Conservation
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