For Persis Clayton Weirs, becoming a wildlife artist seemed only natural. Born on an island off the Maine coast, she enjoyed summers on the island and spent winters along the Maine coast where wildlife flourished.
Persis had no formal training in art, but rather she developed her skills through close observation of the animals and wildlife around her home. She began drawing as a child, concentrating mainly on horses and expanding to include the wide variety of animals such as dogs, cats, raccoons, birds, fox and many others. “Drawing and painting
them was unavoidable,” she said. Her father also taught his
children how to identify and appreciate the characteristics and beauty of the animals and their surrounding habitat.
She began painting horses seriously at age 23 and was soon
commissioned to paint portraits of champion show horses and race horses. She continued to do other animal portraits for the next 12 years. In addition, she illustrated two books on Paso Fino horses.
By the early 80’s, Persis began to turn her attention to wildlife art and found a very receptive audience for her work. She had exhibited in annual art shows in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.; Fredricksburg and Middleburg, Virginia; and the Washington International Horse Show, as well as galleries in St. Louis, Missouri and Fredricksburg, Virginia. Her work was featured in the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s “Birds in Art” Exhibition in Wausau, Wisconsin, and her original was selected to go on the international tour to Beijing, China. Her work is displayed at numerous shows throughout the United States including the Western and Wildlife Art Show in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland and the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, South Carolina. She had also exhibited at the “Wildlife 1985” and “Wildlife 1986” shows in the Bayview Gallery in Portland, Maine, and in “Miniatures 1986-1992” in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Persis had received awards including the “Sportsman’s Award” at the Wildlife Art Show in Augusta, Maine and the 1991 “Best of Show” at the Downeast Wildlife Art Show. In 1992, she claimed her first duck stamp by winning the Maine duck stamp competition.
Persis lived in Maine on the Penobscot Bay where wildlife thrives in abundance. She enjoyed hiking through the woods or walking along the shoreline in search of ideas for her paintings. As an artist, she hoped “to share through my work, my respect for wildlife and my sense of responsibility for the quality of the environment. If my paintings can pass on to others just a fraction of the pleasure and fascination I find in nature, then I have succeeded.”
Persis Clayton Weirs passed away in 2016, leaving a legacy of beautiful wildlife art that will be cherished for generations to come.