Scary Good Art: Biologist Mark McCollough’s painting makes coyotes come alive
When the Portland Art Gallery asks you to paint a painting of coyotes for their new art exhibit – Coyote Connections – and you’re a wildlife biologist, what do you do? Well, if you’re Mark McCollough from the Maine Ecological Services Field Office, you do your research. You find out as much as you can about coyotes in the Portland area. You track coyotes during the day and at night to understand their behavior. And, you spend nights at the local cemetery observing coyotes wandering through the gravestones by moonlight. Then, and only then, you take out your brush and paints and get to work painting what you see. That’s exactly what happened to Mark McCollough and why his beautiful painting depicting a real pack of coyotes at a cemetery in Portland is on display at the Portland Art Gallery through mid-January.
Why coyotes? Thirty-one Maine artists were invited to tell the story of coyotes and what they mean to the ecology of Maine. Coyotes often have the reputation of being a nuisance varmint that has run rampant across the country. And, these artists wanted to tell a broader, more accurate story of the coyote. Mark said he learned so much about this “wiley” creature including that it has established a population in downtown Portland at the cemetery. He enjoys integrating his love for wildlife with his love for art – and it shows! To learn more about the Coyote Connections exhibit visit: http://www.une.edu/artgallery/exhibitions/coyote-connections