Carl McClesky and Betsy Scott are a husband and wife sculpting team who live on Lookout Mountain in Cloudland, Georgia. They moved from Marietta, Georgia in 1984 to a secluded tract of land that had been strip-mined. It needed reclamation and the enterprising couple began the task of restoring the land to its natural beauty. They planted thousands of trees, created ponds, and built a house and studio so secluded in the deep woods that for several years they had to generate their own electricity. The setting is naturally beautiful and alive again.
They helped provide the wildlife (which includes deer, bobcats, foxes, rabbits, raptors, and rattlesnakes) with a healthy environ to live, and the wildlife, in return, provides them with inspiration and fuels their creativity. The husband and wife team have a list of life-sized and monumental sculptures that grace homes, zoos and museums all over the world.
Carl & Betsy’s lions are featured at The Toledo Zoo (Ohio); Widener University in Chester, PA, where a small pride now resides and participates in graduation ceremonies; Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC, where a lion trio greets visitors at the zoo’s entrance, welcoming children who believe they are finally getting to pet Aslon, and a private home on the outskirts of Chattanooga, TN., where a lioness named Atalanta is running across the front lawn toward her home and her male lion companion, Melanion, who stands waiting for her. On the Gulf Coast of Florida, the Greg Norman Golf Course commissioned a monumental heron sculpture which also serves as a sundial (although, like many of us, it doesn’t adjust to daylight saving’s time).
The work of Wildlife Bronze LLC is not limited to wildlife. Wofford University’s mascot (a Boston terrier) welcomes students outside the student union and participates in all graduation ceremonies.
Paul Harris, founder of the National Rotary Club, sits on a bench reading a newspaper in Bay City MI. Nearby, at the Wirt Library, children are entranced by the worlds that come to life in the pages of books.
When asked why they chose to specialize in wildlife art, Betsy wrote:
"It seems that as a species we have a stubborn tendency to veer away from any immediate, direct experience of nature whenever our expanding technology provides the means. Nature is seen as peripheral, set apart from our real lives, rather than as an intricate and infinitely complex nexus whose strands suspend and connect us all.
Wildlife art has the power to reforge an awareness of our immersion in the natural world. It lures us into difficult terrain to witness pristine wilderness. It plunges us deep into the heart of a distant forest or swamp. Or it sweeps us across an African savanna in the dry heat of mid-day, saying, 'Come quickly, look closely, you may never see this again.' The works of wildlife artists augment our individual experience of nature and lead us into an ever more profound exploration of her mysterious heart."