The Coast News Group
Sidney Wildesmith displays his 54” x 54” oil landscape painting “The Holy Grail.” Courtesy photo
A Brush with Art

Artistic naturalist promotes preservation of Earth’s wonders

If there is hope of a sustainable future for our planet, Leucadia’s Renaissance man Sidney Wildesmith will surely be involved in its success. As artist, nature educator, friendly activist, musician and videographer, Wildesmith has dedicated his life to promoting the belief that peace is possible in a balanced and sustainable world.A native of Milwaukee, Wisc., Wildesmith earned degrees in Biology, Natural History and Secondary Biology Education from the University of Minnesota.

His natural artistic talent became apparent during college while drawing scientific illustrations for the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis, Minn. He says, “My artistic soul began to emerge as I started drawing plants and flowers for my field notes. The more I drew, the more the beauty of form began to fascinate me.”

He later utilized his interest in art by helping create nature centers and museums while serving as a regional Naturalist for the state of Minnesota.

As founder of the National Parks Touring Artists Program, Wildesmith to date has served as Artist-In-Residence in seven of America’s grand National Parks including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Redwoods. He has conducted hundreds of classes that have helped over 1 million park visitors express their experience through drawing, sketching and painting, as well as poetry, writing and music. He finds that his combined gifts as naturalist and artist enable him to share his passion for some of America’s most powerful forms enshrined in our national parks.

Prior to relocating to Encinitas in 1998, Wildesmith lived 25 years in the cultural mecca of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he had the great fortune of being mentored by the acclaimed landscape painter A.D. Greer. Wildesmith says, “At 85 (Greer) was a vibrant, brilliant landscape painter, and a natural fit for my interests in nature and art. He shared his 50-plus years of knowledge of art and life with me. And my life has never been the same since.”

Wildesmith paints both plein-air and in-studio in a romantic luminist style influenced by Greer, as well as studies of the Hudson River School painters and the California Plein-Air artists. With collectors around the world, Wildesmith says, “It’s a good life, searching the earth for its beauty and then painting it. I paint from my soul, the land I see, and the spirit of the land I love.”

Consistent with his dedication to preserving Earth’s beauty as a “friendly activist,” he is founder and CEO of, an online video showcase of clean technologies, which actively promotes the development of clean technology in the San Diego region and around the world.

For several years Wildesmith hosted “The Wild Side News,” a weekly radio broadcast through which he featured over 300 renowned figures such as Jane Goodall and Robert Kennedy Jr., and provided little-known information regarding the well-being of our planet.

Currently as “The Nature Man,” Wildesmith is developing the Neighborhood Naturalists Program, a regional plan to incorporate nature education into the community through promoting awareness and appreciation in youth.

With a humorous twist, he expresses his dream “that mankind learn again to live harmoniously with the winds and the rivers, and with the things we have been told since childhood are out to kill us if we don’t wear mittens.”

Relentlessly pursuing his quest through creative endeavors, Wildesmith says, “I can only hope that my work and my words can do their little bits to reform our hell-bent world to take a deep breath, as we do when we perceive something extraordinarily beautiful, awe-inspiring, literally breathtaking.”

The full spectrum of the projects and talents of the multifaceted Sidney Wildesmith can be seen at

Kay Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at


Rebecca Frailey January 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Thank you for this wonderful article. I know Sidney Wildesmith and Claire Summerlin. They are both intelligent, thoughtful…true citizens of our planet.

Nanette Dupre January 29, 2013 at 7:55 pm

It is wonderful to see this impressive painting by Sidney Wildesmith, his magnum opus! This is a powerful and monumental work. I think it has allegorical significances that speak to our soul. It does what all great art does, quietly draws you into it’s world. I hope it finds a permanent showcase where it can be fully appreciated. Congratulations!

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