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Green Pack of Wolves Print


16×21 inches

Archival Ink on Archival Paper

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Wolves live in a pack and function as a community working together to protect their family and acquire food. Have you heard about the impact of re-introducing a wolf pack into Yellowstone National Park? Over the years the environment had degraded because of the imbalance of the animals due to ranchers desire to eliminate predators. Wolves, one of the major high level predators, had been hunted and killed off. With no top level predator around the deer overpopulated the area which had an impact on vegetation other species and on the entire biome.

When wolves were re-introduced it reversed that process to the point that even the river came back to life, supporting many species and deepening it’s course. How did that happen? It wasn’t because the wolves killed so many deer for food. It was because their presence as a top level predator was a deterrent to deer grazing everywhere. In order to stay safe from the wolves the deer started avoiding areas that were open and then those areas were able to regrow with vegetation that supported wildlife and stopped erosion.

The wolves were responsible for re-greening in Yellowstone National Park. Recent legislation again threatens the wolves. I hope that conservation and supporting our environment outweigh the other issues and the wolves continue to thrive in Yellowstone.

I chose to show this wolf pack in this close knit group to illustrate their community connection. Green symbolizes the impact they have on their environment. I used saturated green tints for the wolves and glazed with purples for shadow and contrast. The wolves are in snow to show the hardship they are now under. The sky is a purple overcast but the feeling is not depressing. I want to convey both hardship and hope in this piece. —Donald Ryker


Donald Ryker has been painting since his teens. He was inspired to begin painting when he discovered he could use a hard hat on his head to direct his brush. He has lived his life with cerebral palsy and was thrilled to find an outlet for his creativity and a way to communicate his love of life, and his message to people that anyone can accomplish things in life if they are creative and persistent; there is always a way to find the positive in life. Ryker's paintings reflect his joy in life, and his desire to connect. His artwork inspires others with his choice of color and ability to draw in his viewer.