Al Agnew has always had twin
passions for nature and art. Growing up in the Missouri Ozarks,
he spent his time exploring the rivers and rugged hills and bringing
home birds, turtles, snakes, and other creatures to study and
draw. Even though there were detours along the way, including
a seven year stint of teaching art to elementary and high school
students, he never stopped experiencing and studying the natural
world and seeking to portray his experiences on paper and canvas.
By 1983, he was ready to take the plunge into art as his career.
While he feels very fortunate
to split his time between his beloved Ozarks and the rugged beauty
of southwest Montana with his wife Mary, his artistic quest has
taken him from Alaska to Mexico, from Maine to California, and
from Canada to Africa. His experiences in the wild, with sketchbook
(and often fishing rod) in hand, have been the basis for his
award winning and highly sought after paintings.
Al says, I love to travel,
to see and experience all the variety that nature has to offer.
My goal has always been to portray the beauty and wonder of nature,
whether it be a remote wilderness area or the familiar wildlife
and landscape of my own backyard. To do justice to any portrayal
of wildlife, I feel it is imperative that I get to know the creature
and the landscape in which it lives. If one has a basic understanding
of an animal and has seen and studied its habitat, ideas for
paintings of that animal are unlimited.
I obtain my reference
material from many different sources, including animals in captive
situations and even our own petsone of our two cats is
lean and lanky, a real huntress, and has been the inspiration
for more than one of my big cat paintings. But only familiarity
with the animal in the wild can tell you what the similarities
and differences with captive animals are.
Al is renowned for his portrayals
of North American and African animals, and has a special affinity
for predatory birds and mammals. He also is well known for his
paintings of freshwater fish in dynamic action, a result of another
related passionfishing. The only career that I think
I could enjoy as much as I do art would be to make my living
as a professional fisherman. On the other hand, Id hate
for my fishing to become like work!
Al is an ardent conservationist
whose work has raised millions of dollars for such organizations
as Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the
Black Bass Foundation, and the Wolf Recovery Project. Along the
way, he has earned the honor of being designated as Featured
Artist at such prestigious national art shows as the Southeast
Wildlife Expo, Pacific Rim Wildlife Art Show, NatureWorks Wildlife
Art Show, the Michigan Wildlife Habitat Foundation Art Show and
was the Special Guest Artist for the National Zoo Wildlife Art
Show in Washington, D.C.
Al has exhibited internationally
for a number of years at exhibitions such as Leigh Yawkey Woodson
Art Museums Birds in Art and Animals,
The Artist View as well as the Society of Animal Artists
Art and the Animal annual exhibit. He was one of
only a few American artists chosen by the Malilangwe Artist Trust
to spend two weeks painting in the field in Zimbabwe. His work
has been featured in Wildlife Art News, U.S. Art, Field &
Stream, Outdoor Life, Sporting Classics, In-Fisherman and North
American Fisherman magazines and he has been commissioned by
Bass Pro Shops to create over 125 covers for their catalogs.