The Wildlife Illustrations of Kaitlin Bauer
By Anna Horsnell
We are not alone. Humans share planet Earth with a tremendous variety of other life forms. The animals around us look back at us, aware, holding us to account perhaps. Kaitlin Bauer is one who sees and pays homage through her fine wildlife drawings.
The connection between animal and human is so often through the eyes, and Bauer understands that bond. Whether her subject is a great horned owl or a grizzly bear, she captures the direct stare or coy expression of the seemingly inattentive. She aims for the candid moment, placing each animal in its natural setting. It is the fine detail which often makes the difference and that is where she places her concentration. She works from carefully chosen photos she either takes herself or which she has permission to reference. Countless tiny strokes of her graphite pencil and pen build textures of fur or feather. “I work with graphite pencils, erasers, and some sculpting tools for indenting in the beginning stages of my work. Once the piece I’m working on reaches a point that I’m happy with, I start working over the pencil in fine tip pen to add contrast and darker values to the drawing. I work using both pencil and fine tip pen until the piece is complete,” Bauer explains. This is meticulous work over many hours, but Bauer puts on her headphones and happily submerges into the music and her art-making.
The story began in Powell River, British Columbia where Bauer grew up. Surrounded by nature and wildlife, drawing was a natural impulse that began in childhood. She became obsessed with drawing horses. Then one day, she stumbled across a book that introduced her to the incredible art of renowned Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman. His work and dedication were an eye-opener and a great source of inspiration. Bauer had found her path. Although she eventually tried painting animals, each time she returned to her drawing, simply preferring this medium to all others. There is something innately honest about drawing.
Meeting and marrying her husband brought Bauer to Nova Scotia, first to Digby in 2016, and then to Auburn in October 2018. Now with his encouragement, she is determined and focused on her art. The life of an artist is the life of an entrepreneur. She researches her subjects, honing her skills, and learning new techniques. She takes pride in the overall quality of her work and, due to advances in technology, she is happily able to produce her own prints in addition to the original drawings. She also spends time marketing and promoting her work through her website and social media. Participating in local craft markets, such as the recent one in Kentville, enables Bauer to meet folks who purchase her work, which she really enjoys. “I want people to appreciate wildlife,” she smiles, “these are amazing creatures.”
People have taken notice of Bauer’s work. First, she was approached by a restaurant in Bear River to hang her work, which gained her local attention, and then in 2017, Blue Mind Gallery, also in Bear River, asked to carry her drawings. That relationship has proven very successful and her work is now enjoyed far and wide. “I genuinely love drawing. Animals are incredible and I don’t want to forget why I started,” says Bauer, “I have a long list of animals I want to draw.” This is only the beginning for this young artist.