How Science Sheds Light on an Artist’s Vision


This spring, my organization Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation has been honored to work with Emilie Lee, a classically trained painter working in the tradition of the Hudson River School. Although she is based in New York, Emilie is no city slicker. She grew up in Vermont and cut her teeth rock climbing across the Western U.S.

Sunset Color Scheme, American Prairie Reserve (Painting by Emilie Lee)

Emilie spent the last month living on the American Prairie Reserve, studying the nuances of this magnificent part of north-central Montana and preparing for an artist’s residency this fall where she’ll create a series of larger pieces. During her time on the Reserve, she hiked many miles with our Landmark wildlife research crew, in particular waking at 3 a.m. to research sage grouse during their lekking season.

Sage study at sunset (Painting by Emilie Lee)
Sage Study at Sunset (Painting by Emilie Lee)

Here, you can see some of Emilie’s work, and also read excerpts from a story she wrote for ASC (read the full story on the ASC Field Notes blog).

From Emilie:

It’s 5 a.m., and I’m crammed in the back of a car with six strangers, rattling down a dirt road as we race to beat the sunrise. Sleep has overtaken me by the time we reach our destination, but I snap out of it when we step into the chilly air. The night sky is lifting, and a pale light illuminates the endless expanse of rolling grasslands that greet me.

Yucca Seed Pods (Painting by Emilie Lee)

It’s my first morning on the American Prairie Reserve, and I feel disoriented, but Elaine and Tim—the pair of Landmark wildlife researchers I’m following—consult their GPS and strike out with confidence, striding through the prickly sage —> Read More