Carl was born near Antwerp, Belgium, in 1937. He has been drawing for as long as he can remember, and natural history was also an early interest of his. Carl enrolled at the Academy of Decorative Arts in Berchem, and then went on to the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. After this, he went on to work as an illustrator, before taking the plunge and going freelance.
During his early career, he took whatever work was available, including doing pen drawings for comics. His big break came with the offer to work on a series of books on endangered species. He also began to sell his original artwork at this time. Carl exhibited his art in galleries in Europe. Christiane Thorn Katcham, a member of an old aristocratic Belgium family, noticed Carl’s paintings at a gallery and urged him to sell his work in America. She was convinced that it would sell well there. Carl agreed and they organized an exhibition at the prestigious Trailside Galleries, in Wyoming. The exhibition was a great success, and led to his work being seen by Bob Lewin of Mill Pond Press. Since 1984, Mill Pond has published over 190 of Carl’s limited edition prints. They unfortunately closed in 2014, and it is now Greenwich Workshop who publishes his work, mostly on canvas.
To achieve his incredibly detailed work, Carl spends many hours in the field observing nature and taking countless photographs. In 2002, the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI granted him the Master Wildlife Artist Award, in recognition of his outstanding achievement for using bird imagery in his artwork. These days, Carl and his wife divide their time between work at their home in Belgium, trips in Europe and traveling to America once a year for fieldwork and to attend the famous Birds in Art, September event in WI. Carl hopes his paintings will help spread an awareness of the importance of caring for the environment.
Click on the images below to view Carl Brenders's artwork available for sale at this year's show.
On my numerous trips to the U.S., I have visited many national parks. The best opportunity to see Bighorn sheep was in Glacier National Park, Montana, on the Highline Trail. This trail is high in elevation, with many cliff faces, and not recommended to people with vertigo.
As I was hiking, eight full curl bighorns crossed my path. It’s exciting to meet such creatures when hiking along the trail, and to be alone with them.
When they were lying down, I would could come so close that I almost could reach out and touch them. These animals have such majestic qualities! It was a moment in my life that I never will forget, and one of the greatest experiences in nature that I have ever had.
I started this drawing as a study for a big painting, but it turned out to become a very detailed pencil drawing instead.
Pencil drawings are nice to do in-between two paintings. One only needs paper, and a pencil, (and inspiration!). It’s relaxing to create. I believe it could even be more decorative than a painting done in watercolor and gouache.