Guardians of the Everglades®

To introduce the public to the fragile beauty of the Everglades and its unique ecosystem; to honor today’s leadership in conservation and restoration through great art and compelling human stories; and to encourage the public and policy makers to participate in the protection of the Everglades.

Biographies & Artist Statements

Nicholas Petrucci    -    Connie Bransilver    -    Clyde Butcher

NicholasPetrucci-©Connie Bransilver.jpg

Nicholas Petrucci

Portrait Artist

Touring the museums in Europe as a young man inspired Nicholas Petrucci to learn the craft from the artists who were to become his favorite teachers, Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Davíd. These artists taught Petrucci about beauty, grace, dignity and the control of light.  He has never forgotten the feelings of being inspired and connected to those artists.

While attending university to study Modern Art, Petrucci began teaching himself the craft of traditional portraiture. His use of theatrical light creates elegant and sensitive portraits, and his goal as an artist is to always look for the beauty in who we are as individuals. It was Oscar Wilde who validated his decision by saying, “Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated.  They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty”.

Because Nicholas Petrucci holds himself to a high standard, he strives to compose not only a physical likeness but also to incorporate life’s experiences into each portrait.  He has chosen brush and oils to best accomplish that sense of old world drama with contemporary themes. He finds enormous satisfaction knowing his talent and experience can create great works of art that bring happiness and deep meaning to others for many generations to come.

Nicholas Petrucci's paintings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the Midwest and Florida.  In addition, his commissioned work is in corporate, public and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. Nicholas lectures and leads workshops on classical art and portraiture.

Nicholas Petrucci - ARTIST'S STATEMENT

I believe there is no other art form that lends itself more to the expression of the human experience than a masterfully painted portrait. It has always been and will always be regarded as high art.

The idea of becoming a portrait artist was formed when I was thirteen standing in the Louvre looking down the hall at Raphael's portrait of Baldassare Castiglione.  Although I was surrounded by great art my eyes were so focused on that painting that everything else seemed to fade away. I remember wondering how colors from the earth could create something so life-like. I marveled at the elegance and the illusion of this painting. I later stood in front of a Rembrandt portrait and knew that was real greatness. Because I was taking pre-med courses it wasn’t until my third year in college that I was able to take any art classes. They brought back all those feelings from my experiences in the art museums and I turned to art for the remainder of my formal education.

Several years ago I received a response from an elderly lady who saw the portrait I completed of  Mrs. H. A. Balogun of Nigeria titled “Her Honor”.  When I begin to paint this woman I imagined a painting that would represent her stature, her wisdom, and her enigmatic Mona Lisa-like smile. The letter that arrived from California was a special gift to me because it spoke of who I am and what I aim for in my work:

There is an ancient love and respect here that I have not seen before. Whatever emptiness abides in me is filled when I look at her . . . the absolute grace and wedding of the subject and painter lies beyond the intellectual, but not the emotional comprehension. . . I must have it, in any form, near me. . . In a world that grows increasingly insensitive and cold, you are a beacon. Whenever self-doubt creeps in, and it always does with those who create, please think about my words. . . As a young girl it would have done me a world of good to have ‘Her Honor’ hanging on the wall in my classroom.

Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda 
University of Illinois, Bachelor of Arts

Awards & Reviews: 
Nicholas’ paintings have been featured in American Art Collector, Southwest Art, Estate Lifestyles, Naples Art & Antiques, Naples Winter Wine Festival, Showcase Southwest Florida Entertainment, Bonita Banner and others. Nicholas lectures at museums and aboard ships on classical art.

His paintings and drawings have won highest honors in competitions throughout the country.

Professional Organizations: 
American Society of Traditional Artists (ASTA) 
International Guild of Realism (IGOR) 
American Portrait Society
Oil Painters of America

Connie Bransilver

Connie Bransilver

Connie Bransilver

Conservation Photographer, Artist, Speaker

Connie’s dedication to conservation photography spans all seven continents with special emphasis on Madagascar, Indonesia, UNESCO-Asia World Heritage Sites, and her own South Florida.  Her two published books focus on the conservation of Florida’s swamp wetlands: Florida’s Unsung Wilderness: The Swamps, with a foreword by Dr. Jane Goodall, and Wild Love Affair: Essence of Florida’s Native Orchids. Her articles have appeared in many dozens of books and magazines in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, and she is widely known for her multi-media slide and music, poetry-lecture presentations on the value of the natural world. Her artwork hangs in museums and major corporate and private collections.  She premiered her National Geographic Wild Chronicles segment on Madagascar at the Telluride Film Festival.  Her photograph of a Ghost Orchid was selected as a main image at the IUCN Congress in Barcelona, Spain.  She is past President of NANPA, a charter Fellow in the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) dedicated to ethical conservation photography.

Connie Bransilver - ARTIST’S STATEMENT

I want to conspire with the viewer to tell a story in one captured moment.  We are each involved.  The viewer’s life’s experience shapes his response to what he sees. My curiosity, patience, timing and knowledge of the subject bring an enigmatic instant to life, Cartier-Bresson’s ‘Critical Moment.’ The image presented on paper or canvas or fabric is unchanging, archival, but the interpretation can be unique to each viewer, and even different each time it is viewed.  It is that multi-layered story that I aim to tell. Thus, using the best possible camera and field techniques, mastering the plays of natural light and shadow, I present the story my mind saw.  Mine is not a computer-based art.  It is the art of the natural world and of the heart.

If, as I believe, photographs are self-portraits of the artist’s vision, then mine are emotional, clean and clear and straight forward images of light, light as color, light as heat, light as the very essence of life.  And they are invariably joyful.  A photograph is captured light, captured life in color, vibrant and lively, or muted and serene, or light stripped of color and presented as heat, life itself sculpted by an invisible hand.

With me, silence the cacophony and isolate one element.  Let the static recede for now.  Experience simplicity, elegance, serenity or pure joy in being.


 Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, February 15 - May 21, 2013

Guardians of the Everglades:  Multimedia exhibition/installation of portraits, photographs, video, and sheer banners highlighting Everglades conservation. Dec 2011-Jan 2012 Museum of Florida, Avon Park; Feb 2012 Museum of the Everglades, Everglades City; Mar 2012 Coe Visitors’ Center, Everglades National Park; Fall 2012, Deering Estate, Biscayne Bay, Miami, FL.

# #

Recent Assignment: UNESCO Asia, 12 World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve sites in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and India, August, September and October, 2009.

Asian Geographic, Asia Without Borders, No. 74, Issue 5/2010, Birth of a Conservation Photographer, pages 30 - 33.

# #

Guardians of the Everglades - Tales of Love and Leadership. Cypress Trust Companies, Naples, Palm Beach and Vero Beach, FL, Jan. - Mar. 2013.

Society of Environmental Journalists - Annual Conference, Miami, FL, Oct. 20, 2011. Panel - Photography as Environmental Journalism. Pulitzer Prize winners Michael Kodas and Patrick Farrell, Everglades Artist Clyde Butcher, and iLCP Fellows Carlton Ward and Connie Bransilver. New York Times, Oct. 25, 2011, “A Photographic Call to Action.”

“The Art of Seeing:  Contemporary Photography and Developing Trends in Collecting” Moderator, Connie Bransilver - Panelists, Stefan Andreev and Jim Lustenader, at Art Naples Contemporary Art Fair, Mar. 21, 2011.

# #

Major private, corporate, museum collections:
•    Florida Museum for Women Artists, DeLand, Florida.
•    Museum of Florida Art and Culture at South Florida Community College, Avon Park, FL.
•    Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL.
•    The Von Liebig Museum of Art, Naples, FL.
•    Cleveland Clinics and Hospitals, Weston and Naples, FL.; Cleveland, OH.
•    Swire Properties, the Courts at Brickell Key, Miami, FL.

One person shows at museums:
Dec. 2006-Jan. 2007 - Museum of Florida Art and Culture at South Florida Community College, Avon Park, FL

Museum of the Everglades, Everglades City, FL, Artist of the Month, October 2010

Florida State Capitol, Wild Florida, October 2007.

National Geographic Conservation Grant to study and photograph the newly discovered Propithecus lemur in Madagascar and environmental and cultural effects.

Margot Marsh Foundation – search for Propithecus diadema in Madagascar and study of the newly discovered species – on-going.

Wild Love Affair:  Essence of Florida’s Native Orchids, by Connie Bransilver. Foreword by Eric Hansen, Preface by Prof. Stuart Pimm, Ph. D., Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO. 2004.

Florida’s Unsung Wilderness: The Swamps, by Connie Bransilver and Larry Richardson.  Foreword by Dr. Jane Goodall, OBE, Westcliffe Publishers, 2000.

The Wealth of Nature: Ecosystem Services,  Biodiversity and Human Well-Being, Publisher: Earth in Focus Editions, a CEMEX Conservation Book Series. Dec. 2009.  Participating photographer.

Freshwater - CEMEX Conservation Book Series, published through ILCP, Earth in Focus
editions, October 2010.  Participating photographer.

Numerous national, international and local books, magazines and television productions including National Geographic, Asian Geographic, NY Times Group, Indonesia, Time, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Outdoor Photographer, National Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Society NYC and Singapore, Australian Wildlife, Canadian Wildlife, Gulf Shore Life, etc.

National Geographic Wild Chronicles
, Episode 205, originally aired on PBS the first week of November, 2006, and re-runs on the National Geographic Channel.  Field producer for both video and stills as well as voice-over text.

WildWomen WildAnimals, Pilot for series featuring women who have dedicated their lives to research and rescue of wild animals around the world. Central character.

Connie Bransilver’s view of Florida, interview and lecture, will be shown on the condominium ship The World as she sails between Cape Canaveral via the Bahamas to Miami, FL, November, 2008.

IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS opening ceremonies slide show/film, October 5, 2008, Barcelona, Spain. October 2008

Irreplaceable – Wildlife in a Warming World. ILCP traveling exhibit in partnership with EARTH JUSTICE.  HD Video accompanies the exhibit and includes more than a dozen of Connie’s images of the endangered Florida Panther. On Tour 2008 – 2009.

Numerous interviews over the past 15 years on national and international news and features programs in the US and Great Britain.

Awards and Special Recognition: 
2009    Florida Women’s Museum, First Prize winner in photojournalism category for “Madagascar Burning.”

2008    International Conservation Photography Awards, Seattle Museum of History and Industry, First Place Winner - “Documenting a Conservation Project” with 6 images from the Sadabe project in Madagascar, and “Environment at Risk” image “Wildfire.” Sept. 1 – Oct. 12, 2008

2007    Best in Category, Environment at Risk, 2007 Environmental Photography Invitational Gallery Show. Image: “Madagascar Burning”

2006    Field Producer, National Geographic’s ‘Wild Chronicles’ Episode 205, aired on PBS stations nationwide in November featured Connie Bransilver’s still and video images, bringing to light the discovery of a new species of lemur in Madagascar and a thrilling exploration of conservation, education and the human relationship with wild Madagascar

2005    First Photographic Artist on the Artist’s Studio Tour, Friends of Art at the Naples Art Museum at the Philharmonic

Clyde Butcher2©ConnieBransilver.jpg

Clyde Butcher


Clyde Butcher's black and white photographs explore his personal relationship with the environment. The exquisite beauty and depth of his work draw the viewer into a relationship with nature. For more than forty years, he has been preserving on film the untouched areas of the landscape. His images are captured with an 8"x 10", 11"x 14", and 12"x 20" view camera. The large format camera allows him to express the elaborate detail and textures that distinguish the intricacy of the landscape. The photographs range in sizes from 8"x 10" inches to 5'x 8' feet.  

Recent projects include work for the Florida state's "Save Our Rivers" program, the South Florida Water Management District, the D.E.P., Divisions of State Lands, the Bureau of Submerged Lands and Preserves, Everglades National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, River Keepers, and the Wilderness Society.

Clyde has been honored by the state of Florida with the highest award that can be given a private citizen: the Artist Hall of Fame Award. He was also privileged to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Nature Photography Association and given the honor of being the Humanitarian of the Year for 2005 from International University. He has also received the Heartland Community Service Award from the state of Florida for educating the people of Florida about the beauty of their state. The Sierra Club has given him the Ansel Adams Conservation Award, which is given to a photographer who shows excellence in photography and has contributed to the public awareness of the environment.

Collections of his work can be seen in his books: Portfolio I, Florida Landscapes; 1995 Limited Edition Collection; Visions for the Next Millennium; Nature's Places of Spiritual Sanctuary; Florida Landscape; Living Waters ~Floridas Aquatic Preserves; Cuba - The Natural Beauty; Apalachicola River - An American Treasure and in his biography, Seeing the Light: Wilderness and Salvation, a Photographer's Tale.

Public Broadcasting has completed an award-winning ½ hour documentary on Clyde, Visions of Florida. A second video, Big Cypress Preserve: Jewel of the Everglades, featuring Clyde, is also an award-winning program. Clyde was the Host in the award winning nature documentary, Living Waters ~ Aquatic Preserves of Florida and  the Featured Guest in the award winning nature documentary, Apalachicola River - An American Treasure.

A large selection of Clyde's photography can be seen at his Venice Gallery & Studio in Venice, Florida, and at his Big Cypress Gallery, which is located on thirteen acres in the center of the Everglades, mid-way between Naples and Miami on the Tamiami Trail (Hwy. 41), in the Big Cypress National Preserve. The gallery is surrounded by more than a million acres of National Park wetlands and cypress strands of wild Florida.

Awards and Recognition:
Artist Hall of Fame - State of Florida (only photographer)
Ansel Adams Conservation Award - Sierra Club
Florida House Distinguished Artist Award - Washington, DC
Lifetime Achievement Award -North American Nature Photography
Humanitarian of the Year - International University
Heartland Community Service Award - State of Florida


"Wilderness, to me, is a spiritual necessity. When my son was killed by a drunk driver it was to the wilderness that I fled in hopes of regaining my serenity and equilibrium. The mysterious spiritual experience of being close to nature helped restore my soul. It was during that time, I discovered the intimate beauty of the environment. My experience reinforced my sense of dedication to use my art form of photography as an inspiration for others to work together to save nature's places of spiritual sanctuary for future generations."

To create your own legacy with a commissioned portrait of a loved one, your family, your business, or to honor a public or religious figure, please click here for information.

Receive invites, photos and more! Click here to subscribe!

We value your privacy and will never share your information. You can unsubscribe at any time.