Debbie Edgers Sturges, AG85


Sturges in the wild

Lion, photo by Debbie Edgers Sturges

Guhonda, painting by Debbie Edgers Sturges

Since Tufts, Debbie Edgers Sturges, AG85, of Hailey, ID, has “lived in a log cabin in the shadow of a mountain” and has been traveling the world to capture the wildlife spirit on canvas and film. “The bears overall are my very favorite animals,” writes Sturges. “They’re huge; they’re out there; they’re comical and strong. You don’t get to see them all of the time. I love the Polar Bears, the Coastal Brown Bears, the Grizzlies, the Black Bears.

“We’re going to spend four days on the beach with the Coastal Brown Bears in Katmai this summer—those trips are where I’ve learned the most about the bears. I’m really excited to watch them fishing, nursing, digging for clams, eating grass. I don’t even know how to put it into words, so I try to paint it. I learn so much from watching their existence.

“My husband Brian and I take one or two big trips every summer—he’s a 6th grade school teacher. The last two years, we’ve gone to Kenya for a ten-day safari. And last year we went to Rwanda and hiked in to watch the mountain gorillas. The families never nest in the same place twice, so armed guards—to ward off poachers—track them every night. We spent one hour with a different family each day, and I just completed a big 4’x4’ painting of the oldest and largest Silverback gorilla in Rwanda—he’s in his 40s and weighs more than 600 lbs.

“You can’t even believe that you’re actually there—and then you relive it when you’re painting. The sounds, the communication, the family dynamics—just looking into their eyes and knowing that we are where they live and then being able to bring all of the information that I find out back to people who are purchasing my paintings and talking to them about wildlife. Almost every wildlife artist is a conservationist. You hope the people who buy the pieces are looking at that work and then, in turn, thinking about those creatures. They’re important to our survival and the way that we live and share the earth. It’s an important circle. The more I do it, the more I try to give back—even just in knowledge.

“Every painting comes from a personal experience that I have witnessed. I hope to inspire others to personally examine with a curious heart all that surrounds us in the natural world.”

See more of Sturges’ paintings and photography.

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