For Esther van Hulsen, art is a career, a way of life, an expression, and a puzzle to solve. Specifically, Esther works in wildlife and paleo art, recreating the images of long-extinct animals using fossils and a knowledge of animal anatomy. Recently, she even painted an image of a prehistoric octopus using the ink reclaimed from said octopus’s fossil. Outside of prehistoric ink, however, Esther uses watercolor, Copic markers (“a perfect balance between painting and drawing”) and colored pencil. She says art school wasn’t for her, and is primarily self-taught.
Esther says from the moment she started drawing—before she could even walk—animals have been her focus. She describes nature as something that feeds the soul and describes her art featuring it as intense and personal. “I am interested in the character of the animal, who are they, what moves them,” she says and this level of detail shows in her photo-realistic creations. Here’s Esther’s incredible In Danger contribution, the Gray Wolf:
“The wolf never ceases to fascinate me, and I would happily fill my career just painting and drawing these beautiful animals. There is no animal that calls out such strong emotions in people, be it fear, love, hate or admiration. I wanted to show the animals strength and quiet intelligence in this portrait, using warm colors to emphasize the life and blood running through its veins.”
— Esther van Hulsen