”We need to become more passionate as a species not only for each other but for all of the living creatures with whom we share this rare planet.”
Throughout her life, Margo McKnight has immersed herself in the wild world. Growing up near the complex marine habitats and vast Everglades of south Florida, her passion for wild places inspired her from childhood to draw, paint and sculpt this world. In college she slipped seamlessly back and forth between fine arts and natural sciences. Studying zoology in the field taught her to observe intimate details of birds, tortoises and marine life. She subsequently combined both her passions in a zoo and aquarium career where she became acquainted with more exotic species from around the world.
Her intrigue with wildlife and wilderness has taken her to New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Mexico, the Caribbean and a favorite wild place, the continent of Africa. As she traveled the world, her passion to save quickly disappearing wild places became an urgent goal. Preserving this threatened world became her vocation and she moved deeper into wilderness advocacy as director of Wildlands Network. Inspiring others with her art is as important to her soul as is her work in the field, in the office and in her lectures. Conserving the wild world also conserves humanity and all that makes us human.
Margo’s training as a biologist, her passion as an artist, and her mission as a conservationist are evident in her work on paper and canvas. Her art, grounded in the biology of the creatures she paints, captures form and movement. Beyond science, however, it is by conveying the spirit or “animas” of a creature that Margo transforms an image from simply an accurate record to an impression of energy experienced. Knowledge of all aspects of her subject is as critical to her art as knowledge of the ecosystems she works hard to save.
”The more deeply the subject is understood the more complex and important the painting becomes.”
Horses, dogs, and cats, although domestic creatures that have been sculpted by human agency through selective breeding, are intimate links to their wild ancestors and cousins. They are critically important in maintaining and bolstering the increasingly fragile connection between humans and wild nature.
”As much as I would love to snuggle up to a lioness and share the shade of an acacia tree with her... I would not put either of us in that ridiculous position. I can however come home and enjoy the shade of an oak with the warm body of my dog leaning on my leg. What is important is that the lioness continues to thrive in the wild world.”
Margo McKnight lives in Thonotosassa, Florida in an oak hammock near the Hillsborough River with her Catahoula Leopard dogs and the wild creatures that share the woods with her.