Antarctica Paintings & Sketches by Lucia deLeiris

Super excited to say that Doodlewash has officially gone fully global as we have now posted doodlewashes from artists on all 7 continents! These stunning paintings and sketches were created through visits on location in Antarctica by the amazingly talented Lucia deLeiris. Please be sure to visit her website and see more of her wondrous works from her many travels!

Though Lucia sketched in her early years, her career in art began around 1978. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in zoology, she spent a summer as a research assistant at the 2000 acre Smithsonian National Zoo Conservation and Research Center in Virginia. While observing deer behavior, she did field sketches from the jeep, studying their forms and postures.

Antarctic Cormorants by Lucia deLeirisShe then stayed on at the center to illustrate the book, The Biology and Management of an Extinct Species, Pere David’s Deer (B. Beck and C. Wemmer. ed., Noyes Pub., ’83), and to do an animated introduction for the Zoo documentary The Last Chance (Skrentny/Ames Productions, ’79). For this she spent hours in the marmoset enclosure sketching the little monkeys as one rode her arm and wrapped tiny fingers around her pencil. This six months living at the breeding center was a turning point in her life.

Her interest in the workings of the natural world had expanded to include its visual interpretation. From then on, Lucia illustrated several books and articles, including two Dover coloring books and posters for National Geographic Special Publications. She illustrated articles for magazines including Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Cruising World, Ocean Realm.

Her continuing interest in science often finds its way into her art. She has traveled widely, painting in the Russian Arctic, South and Central America, Greenland, and Europe. She took three trips to Antarctica under the auspices of the National Science Foundation Artist and Writer’s program. There she lived in science stations and field camps painting, sketching and illustrating.

Barne Glacier VII by Lucia deLeirisShe writes about one of her visits with her travel companion, Sara Wheeler, author of Terra Incognita, “We both lived and worked many weeks in those huts, which were just big enough for two wooden bunks, a table and an oil drip heater. We were there as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Artist and Writer’s Program on separate missions. I was there to paint the landscape and wildlife in the spectacular low light of spring. With a daily radio call our only contact with civilization, we lived two hours from McMurdo, a station supported by NSF, which administers the US Research Program in Antarctica.”

Lucia illustrated several books, including: Natural History of the Antarctic Peninsula, (Moss, Columbia University Press ’88,) Antarctic Journal, text by Meredith Hooper, (Frances Lincoln and National Geographic 2000,) and The Island that Moved by Meredith Hooper, (Viking, and Frances Lincoln, 2004.)

As well as exhibiting in group shows, she prepared several solo exhibitions of paintings at museums and galleries including Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, MA, Newport Art Museum in Newport, RI, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, and Happy White Gallery, Barrington, RI.

Glacier in Antarctica by Lucia deLeirisWhile in Antarctica, with temperatures in the 30°s and 40°s Fahrenheit, she was dropped off by rubber Zodiac on nearby islands each day. Lucia writes, “The animals of Antarctica seemed undaunted by my presence, accepting of a foreign creature in their land… I recall sitting near an Adelie penguin colony, when one juvenile scurried up and tugged at my mitten as I sketched. There was an unusual harmony in this paradise-like land. To this day, the frozen continent warms my spirit in memories and images.”

So honored to featured Lucia deLeiris and her amazing art journey traveling to parts of the world many of us will never see. Please be sure to visit her website and see more of the locations she’s visited and the stunningly gorgeous images she’s captured! Thank you so much for being a guest on, Lucia, and sharing your amazing art with us! You’re truly an inspiration to us all!

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

35 replies on “GUEST DOODLEWASH: Sketching Antarctica

  1. Oooops, I almost missed this one… And now I´m so happy that I didn´t!!! Those pictures are stunning, they hold so much beauty in them! What a wonderful icy world! I hope so much that humanity will be able to preserve it!!! Thanks for sharing, Charlie!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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