The preservation of life is carried out by tiniest of winged pollinators. The Grand Canyon is defined by the rushing waters of the Colorado. Forces of nature forge a path of beauty and inspiration and so it is with the creative naturalist. Acclaimed wildlife artist, Wayne Chunat, first realized biology as his muse in the seventh grade. Throughout college and his civilian career with Cleveland Metroparks, Chunat continued to chase his muse. Through both career and canvas he knew his purpose. “I was to instill a sense of wonder and our relationship to the natural world.”
Chunat majored in biological sciences, and art was developed as a secondary priority.
Careful consideration was taken to study that which would enhance his creative development while providing a stable income. Primarily a self- taught artist, Chunat explored workshops on both local and national levels. Influencing artists include Don Altemus, Arleta Pech, Robert Bateman, John Seere Lester, Hiner Hertling, John Banovich, Fred Leach, George Wervey, and David Rankin. ”Now, forty plus years later, I am still searching for and developing new techniques & methods.” Truly, achievers never stop acquiring knowledge.
Well versed in a variety of mediums, acrylics are preferred. Classified as representational, Chunat prefers to disregard photorealism and allow the audience perspective license. The process often begins as a sketch, mapping out possibilities. Painting requires intimate familiarity. True vision is prized; knowing the subject and its relation to surroundings is essential. Chunat shares his secret ingredient for successful painting, ”When you add the rhythm of life you will touch the emotions, engage the viewer, they will become involved and attached.”
Validation and recognition for one’s art are every artist’s dream. He has been fortunate in that regard as his work has amassed accolades and delighted collectors for decades. Chunat belongs to a number of posh associations, including the Artists for Cider Painters of America, Miniature Art Society of Florida, and most recently, the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Engravers Association, Washington DC. Memberships in such international groups are often restrictive and serve as a pinnacle of achievement.
When asked about his studio, Chunat romanced an ideology that many creatives share. “I like to think that the real studio is in the wild; the unexpected encounters, imaginative thinking, digital photos, and field sketches with notations.” His actual home studio is encompassed by a humble 10 x 12 room, carefully lit and made lively by the presence of his beloved pets. Containment has become more fluid, “I now paint to minimize size, brush and pigment. Most of my works are now 11x14” to 3x5”. The works themselves may be miniature, but as the saying goes: dynamite comes in small packages.
Chunat continues to forge his way as a newly fulltime Florida resident. Together with his wife they plan to explore every element of nature Florida has to offer. Chunat hopes to produce a body of works depicting their experiences, in addition to pursuing ways to using his arwork to benefit charities local to and surrounding Polk County. His works are locally on exhibit at the Lakeland Center through the Lakeland Art Guild and through the Woodbrook Arts Community. Learn more or contact the artist by visiting www.natureartists.com/wayne_chunat.asp.