2020 Come Spring – Northern Pintail
About the Artist
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Michigan in 1993, DJ Cleland-Hura moved his studio to the West Coast. Here he designed fantasy artwork for Magic the Gathering, worked as an illustrator, created political cartoons, and won numerous wildlife stamp competitions that raised funds for habitat conservation. After three years in Seattle, he and his wife, Jericca, moved down the coast to northern California’s San Francisco Bay Area. The diversity of culture and climate proved to be significant influences on his work. In 2003 the Cleland-Hura family migrated north again to Vancouver, BC.
DJ has taught numerous classes and workshops over the years and has been a featured instructor at Pixar Animation Studios, Vancouver Film School, and The Animation Workshop in Denmark. His concept work, as well as lighting and color design, has contributed to a number of film projects including “Finding Nemo”, “Ballerina”, and “Space Chimps”.
Now living on BC’s Sunshine Coast, Cleland-Hura focuses on painting originals for private collections, and developing original content in collaboration with his wife for their studio’s many projects currently in production. He has participated in a number of international exhibitions including the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum’s “Birds in Art”, the Salmagundi Club Invitational Exhibit in New York, and Christies of London‘s Art Auctions. His work was featured on the 2001 Paraduxx wine label for Duckhorn Vineyards.
Through all of his artistic ventures, Nature continues to inspire DJ’s work and life. “Spending time in the wilderness studying the environment and the wildlife inspires me to capture the beauty and vitality of Nature. For me, my art is the best way to repay what Nature has given me. It is my form of praise, of homage, and of thanks.”
About the Painting
My world was forever changed when, as a boy, I was introduced to the work of Robert Bateman. He had successfully married my two great passions, art and Nature, into a lifestyle that inspires me to this day. One of the earliest Bateman paintings I remember seeing is “Spring Marsh Pintail Pair”. I love this painting because it showcases the wonderful abstract designs of the cattails as much as the ducks, giving equal measure to subject and setting. Pintails also happen to be my favorite duck for their quiet elegance and subdued plumage, and his painting gave me the same sense of quiet wonderment I found in the field.
When it came time to design my painting “Come Spring – Northern Pintail”, I was reminded of Bateman’s use of the reflections of the cattails above the ducks. I chose to focus more on the swimming ducks, but our eye is able to imagine a larger world beyond the edges of the painting with just a hint of the background foliage visible. I showcased the pair in a warm backlight emerging from the shadows, as if coming out of the long, dark winter months into the joys of spring.