Some 25 years ago Sue Shane consciously began to expand her natural connection with nature by seeking out compelling and sometimes unusual opportunities to interact directly with it. Most often that meant volunteering and she gravitated to such activities as banding hawks and caring for sick, injured or orphaned birds and animals. “Hands-on direct interaction is dirty, hard work though rewarding in its own right," she says. "Contributing to this important work is an honor and a privilege not to be taken lightly ,but, what a thrill it is to hold a Red-tailed Hawk in your hands, feel the warmth of its body, smell the soft tangy feathers, look into its eyes and then let it go to soar up and away back to it’s own world.”
Over time her work expanded to include monitoring bird populations close to extinction, such as Piping Plovers, and observing species of concern, like nesting Great Blue Herons and migrating shorebirds. All of these activities led, over time, to a deeper and more intimate understanding of the interconnected environment and each birds’ uniqueness - not just feather color and pattern, but body structure and size, wing configuration, the role of feathers – as well as the specific habitats that support each member of a species.
Painting these birds might be a logical next step. Though artistic by nature, she had never painted or even knew she could. A chance encounter some 16 years ago opened the door to a passion she has been avidly pursuing since and helped to translate her first-hand knowledge of birds into art.
Sue’s sensitivity to and awareness of the totality of the particular details as well as the bird's unique stances and ‘attitudes’ make her watercolors compelling and an accurate representation of each bird. Her paintings also highlight the bird's specific adaptations and mechanisms, such as shape of beak and length of leg, which helps it survive and thrive.
Sue's long-term relationship with Maine Audubon as an active member and Trustee put her passion for the preservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat into action. In this capacity she has been able to actively advocate for protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat and promote conservation education.
Sue Shane Gallery bird art is sold and distributed nation-wide in nature stores, wildlife sanctuaries, and gift shops. She continuers to seek opportunities to work with conservation related organizations to use her art to help promote and support their mission.