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Hazel Howie

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for September, 2015

Hazel Howie grew up in the island state of Tasmania (Australia), and still lives there today. She is self-taught and started painting when she was about 11 years of age.
Animals have nearly always featured in Hazel's work, even though her surrealism period, but it was not until 2011 that she realised that it was wildlife art she wanted to dedicate herself to.
"Living in Tasmania gives me easy access to so many beautiful and diverse environments," Hazel says, "You can start your day on a beach and end it on a snow covered mountain after passing through pristine rainforest, button grass plains and classic 'Aussie bush'." And, of course, there is no shortage of unique and stunning wildlife to give inspiration. With wonderful animals like the Tasmanian Devil, quolls, sugar gliders, ringtail possums and adorable pademelons (a small wallaby) and stunning birds like the wedge-tailed eagle, the sea eagle, masked owls and brightly coloured parrots, the artist is spoiled for choice.
 
Hazel supports many conservation and animal rights groups. Some of her favourites are, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Animals Asia,  Free the Bears, The Orangutan Project, Animals Australia, International Anti-Poaching Fund and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. She is also a wildlife rescuer with Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary's 'Friends of Carers' (FOC) network. The FOC is a network of over 500 people who volunteer their time to rescue injured and orphaned wildlife. In the past this job was left to the already overworked wildlife carers, but now they can concentrate on raising their orphaned babies whilst the FOCs catch/collect and transport animals to and from carers, Bonorong and/or vets.
"Being a member of FOC is very rewarding," Hazel says, "to be able to save an injured animal from days or weeks of suffering is a wonderful thing. And you get to see some wildlife up close that you normally wouldn't get to handle like quolls, devils, albatross and penguins. I've even rescued an Australasian Gannet. Now there's a bird you don't want to mess with!"
In November 2013 Hazel completed a wildlife carer course and is now a registered wildlife carer.
 
Despite Tasmania having a plethora of unique wildlife, Hazel also likes to travel further afield to help wildlife and gain inspiration.
"In 2011 I went with two friends to Camp Leaky in Indonesian Borneo to see rehabilitated orang-utans living back in the wild. It was an unbelievable, almost surreal experience to be so close to these gentle, intelligent animals." Hazel says. "And even more amazing was the two days we spent volunteering at an orang-utan orphanage and care centre." 
One of the many highlights of this trip for Hazel was the opportunity to photograph a juvenile serpent eagle sitting on a tree branch. "Our guide had lived in that area all this life," Hazel said, "and it was the first time he had ever seen one sitting in a tree. He'd only ever seen them flying before that. I think he was even more excited than we were!
I got some great photos so a painting or two is definitely on the cards."
In 2012 Hazel spent 4 days on a research boat on the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) with the Marine Encounters team. Every year, for 2 or 3 weeks in late June/early July, dwarf Minke whales congregate on the northern part of reef (north of Cairns). It's the only place in the world where the, usually solitary, dwarf Minkes gather in large groups. These gentle giants are friendly and inquisitive and every year their numbers increase. It is not yet clear why this phenomenon happens. A significant portion of the cost of this trip enables the research to continue. 
"It was a real privilege to be in the water and so close to these beautiful and incredibly gentle creatures." Hazel said, "Apparently, it was the second roughest trip in 17 years and we didn't encounter the whales until the last day but they made up for it by staying with us from 9 am until we headed for home at 6 pm. This was highly unusual and certainly the longest encounter on record." 
Hazel is hoping to visit Africa and the Galapagos Islands in the near future, and would dearly love to join Sea Shepherd on one of their campaigns to Antarctica. 
As well as her art, Hazel is also passionate about animal rights. She is an active member of the group Animals Tasmania and is a vegan.
"I always use synthetic brushes," Hazel says, "It seems rather odd to me that some wildlife artists use sable brushes, which of course, come from weasels. These poor animals are farmed, which involves them living in barren cages their whole lives. There's really no excuse for using sable brushes. Robert Wade* white Taklon brushes are just as good."
 
2015 has been a busy year for Hazel catching up on commissions (after having 2 solo exhibitions in 2014), but she has still managed to enter a few competitions, with outstanding results:
 
People's Choice Award, Watermark Art Prize, Cygnet, Tasmania 
Packers Award, Rotary Art Prize, Hobart, Tasmania
Finalist, Holmes inaugural art prize (Australia's first national realist bird art competition)
Finalist, AFC's Annual Exhibition (online)  
 
Hazel continues to donate artwork to conservation and animal rights groups including: 
 
In 2014: 
Solo exhibition 'On The Wild Side' 10% of profits to Sea Shepherd Australia;
Solo exhibition 'Born To Be Wild' 10% of profits to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary;
$500 Gift Voucher to Big Ears Animal Sanctuary fundraiser.
2013:
$500 Gift Voucher to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary fundraiser.
$450 Gift Voucher to Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania fundraiser.
2 Paintings to Soi Dog Foundation (Phuket) fundraiser.
2012:
$400 Gift Voucher to The Orangutan Project (TOP) Tasmanian fundraiser;
$400 Gift Voucher to TOP Queensland fundraiser;
Painting and $400 Gift Voucher to Brightside Farm Sanctuary fundraiser'
2011:
Painting and $400 gift Voucher to Free The Bears fundraiser;
Painting to TOP Tasmania fundraiser;
$350 Gift Voucher to RSPCA Tas branch fundraiser
Raffled Gift Voucher (raised $575) for RSPCA (QLD) flood relief appeal.
2007:
Solo exhibition 100% of proceeds to Animals Asia and RSPCA Tasmania.
 

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(October, 2017)
(September, 2017)
(August, 2017)
(July, 2017)
(June, 2017)
(May, 2017)
(April, 2017)
(March, 2017)
(February, 2017)
(January, 2017)
(December, 2016)
(November, 2016)
(October, 2016)
(September, 2016)
(August, 2016)
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