Jack Unruh has had a long career of sustained excellence.
Born in Pretty Prairie, Kansas, Unruh graduated from the famed illustration program at Washington University in St. Louis (the starting place of Al Parker, Bernie Fuchs, Douglas Crockwell, John Hendrix and others). From 1960 until today, Unruh's artistic dedication has taken him to the most unlikely places:
As an illustrator I've crawled through caves to research paleolithic man, flown on helicopters, slept in cars to view the Valdez oil spill, visited research labs, refineries, deserts, coldrooms, tops of mountains, floated remote rivers in Alaska and Chile, and viewed every major brewery in Mexico.Unruh has done a splendid job with all sorts of subjects...
...but his greatest strength is as a nature artist. I've previously quoted Unruh's friend and admirer John Cuneo who said, "Here is a man for whom 'back to the drawing board' usually involves pissing on a campfire." Unruh looks nature in the eye, up close and personal, finds rich patterns and textures, and reveals them to the rest of us through graceful lines and colors. I love the ink on this Griffon Vulture:
Jack's intimate appreciation for nature shines in these pictures. His love is infectious.
One of my personal favorites is his drawing of a spoonbill:
No other artist-- not Audubon, nor anyone else-- has ever captured a bird in a way that I find as intensely moving.
Jack is a terrific illustrator and an even more terrific human being. He is ailing these days. I would urge others who have been similarly moved by his work to tell him so, via facebook. And don't take too long to do it.