Latest artwork

Butterfly art - brimstone on winter heath by Paul Veenvliet

Brimstone on winter heath 

Date: 18 o3 2021

Purpose: Artwork for a new book.

Description:

Often brimstones are the first butterflies that become active in the year. They are wintering as adults and can already fly around on sunny days in February. Around the same time, winter heath starts flowering and provides nectar to the earliest insects.
Frog art - agile frog by Paul Veenvliet

Agile frog

Date: 19 o2 2021

Purpose: Examples for an article about my artwork in RAVON magazine.

Description:

For many years I have made such black-and-white drawings. I still find it amazing that it is possible to trick our brain into thinking of a frog, rather than a bunch of dots and lines on a piece of paper! In fact, there isn’t even paper or ink here, because I made this drawing digitally and I haven’t printed it yet 🙂
 
After completing the black and white drawing of an agile frog a few days ago, I decided to do it again, and now in colour 🙂 Each version has its own place, in some books a black and white drawing will look better while the colour one is better suitable for others.
 
The image shows an Agile frog, which is a widespread species in central Europe and one of the earliest amphibians to emerge from hibernation.
Botanical art - forest plants by Paul Veenvliet

Botanical drawings

Date: 2020

Purpose: Commissioned artwork for a new botany book “herbs, small woody plants and climbing plants in Slovenian forests”

Description:

I am so happy that I could contribute to this new book! Actually, my contribution was only a handful of drawings which explain botanical terms, but this means that I received one of the best Slovenian botany books – otherwise I might well have missed its publication altogether. There were only 1000 issues printed and practically all are already sold on pre-order.
The good news is, that a reprint is being discussed! I will let you know when I know more.
The author took the concept of “forest plants” very broadly and included photo’s of over 1000 species; which is roughly one-third of the Slovenian flora.
Fish art - sturgeon heads by Paul Veenvliet

Sturgeon heads

Date: 13 January 2021

Purpose: Commissioned artwork for foundation RAVON

Description:

Not all my drawings are colourful and highly detailed. Sometimes, the opposite is needed: today I drew the underside of the heads of various sturgeon species, for an identification key from foundation RAVON.
Sturgeon identification becomes doable once you can narrow down the number of possible species. For the Netherlands, sadly this means escapes and releases from garden ponds.
Ecological concepts - natural versus managed forest by Paul Veenvliet

Natural versus managed forest

Date: 25 January 2021

Purpose: Free work

Description:

Even here in Slovenia, where over 60% of the country is covered with forests, natural forests are very, very rare.
natural forest is not necessarily a place without people, instead, it is a place where the forest is not used in any way. Trees can grow undisturbed, and, even more important, trees can also die undisturbed. Once the forest is mature, over 20% of the trees can be either dead or dying.
When a tree dies, the decaying wood nourishes the forest in many ways and the open place in the canopy provides light for other trees to grow. In a natural forest, a fallen tree is not an economic loss, but an opportunity.
Natural forests are an inspiration. A place to dream. And a place to carefully, quietly visit. In such a forest, it feels like we are inside a church of nature, and we should behave accordingly.
In a managed forest, the largest and most valuable trees are cut and removed, which means that there are few or no dead trees left.
Some trees are damaged at the base when stems are pulled out of the forest with heavy machinery. There are few trees with holes: nestboxes are put up to provide birds with alternative nesting places.
Humans are no longer mere visitors, but actively shape the forest in many ways; which is why I depicted a hunter who carries a gun.
Butterfly art - migratory butteflies by Paul Veenvliet

The unknown migratory butterflies

Date: 6 January 2021

Purpose: Free work

Description:

I really want to go back to Taiwan one day, there is so much which I’d like to see there!
When I was there, I learned about mass overwintering sites of butterflies, which rival those of the American monarch butterflies. Several species of crow butterflies, as well as the striped tiger, migrate hundreds of kilometres between the cool mountains in the north of the island and moist valleys in the south with a more temperate climate.
In Europe, Jersey tigers overwinter in large numbers on the Greek island Rhodes. Like the Taiwanese migratory butterflies, not many foreign naturalists know about this.
While drawing these, I couldn’t help smiling about how the names of these species connect, but I suppose this is a coincidence 🙂
Frog art - mountain chicken by Paul Veenvliet

Montserrat mountain chicken

Date: 4 January 2021

Purpose: Artwork in support of the mountain chicken conservation project.

Description:

It felt very good to make a more detailed, stippled drawing again. This is one of the most endangered species of the world, but do you know it? It is called a mountain chicken. It got its name because frogs are presumed to taste like chickens ((I never tried: I am too concerned about the conservation of amphibians to eat them!) Mountain chickens only occur on two small islands: Dominica and Montserrat.
Only a few years ago, there were many of them. Then, the alien Cythrid fungus got somehow to the islands and almost wiped them from existence. If that wasn’t enough, the habitat on Montserrat was largely destroyed the sleeping volcano (which is the island) erupted.
Some frogs were taken to ZOO’s and a breeding centre is set up on Montserrat as well. The international team manages to breed these animals, which turn out to be very unique: female mountain chickens feed their tadpoles with unfertilized eggs!
Reintroduction efforts are ongoing, but it is kind of desperate: the fungus is still present and the habitat is not yet fully recovered.
I made this drawing in support of the project. Thanks to Gerardo Garcia who provided a reference photograph of a mountain chicken.
Ecological concepts - how hydropower plant impact by Paul Veenvliet

The impact of a dam on a river … and on us

Date: 1 January 2021

Purpose: Artwork in support of river conservation in Slovenia, for project ZA SAVO.

Description: Numerous dams impact river habitats worldwide. Too few people realise that they also affect us. Because of the construction of hydropower plants, drinking water quality deteriorates, ground water levels drop and recreation at a river becomes a life-threatening activity.

Mammal art - mammals and birds of Dutch meadows by Paul Veenvliet

Birds and mammals of Dutch mammals

Date: 17 November 2020

Purpose: commissioned artwork for Insitute Ecosensys in the Netherlands. These drawings are meant for PowerPoint presentations and reports about meadow ecology.

Description: Drawing lapwings and black-tailed godwits took me back to my youth, when these birds were breeding in every Dutch meadow. Since then, times have changed. Agriculture has become much more intensive and the balance shifted away from wading birds in favour of grass-eating species which nest away from the meadows, like geese and coots. Some predators have become scarce as well, including weasel and stoat. Others, like the black crow and fox, can easily find the last remaining nests in the uniform short grass of intensive meadows.

Two drawings depicting a pond before and after the introduction of carp.

The impact of introduced carp on a pond.

Date: 1 November 2020

Purpose: made for a presentation about the management of a protected area in Slovenia.

Description: I made this drawing to show the impact which carp have on a pond. I selected a few obvious changes: the disappearance of water plants (eaten by carp), algae bloom (green water) and some secondary effects: the disappearance of clear water fish (rudd and pike as examples), the disappearance if aquatic invertebrates (dragonflies as an example) and the reduction of bird diversity (a mallard remains, but little grebe and kingfisher disappear).

These pictures were quite a success of facebook, where they got shared many times 🙂

Many small icons illustrating aspects of invasive alien species in forests

Invasive alien species in forests: many icons for the layman’ report of project LIFE ARTEMIS

Date: 21 October 2020

Purpose: made for the layman’ report of project LIFE ARTEMIS 

Description: To effectively manage invasive species, we have to pay attention to potentially invasive species, which are not yet present in our country or which occur in only a few places. These are the species, for which spread and environmental damage in forests can still be prevented with rapid management response. This goal became the focus of the project LIFE ARTEMIS. The layman report will provide an overview of the activities and achievements of the project, and in this way, it is a basis for further work on this topic.

I am making such small icons quite often. They are relatively basic and in colour adapted to the layout of the report. Such small additions are a great help to see what the text is about and to me, make the difference between a dry text and an interesting looking presentation 🙂