Art and nature have always been central in my life. My artistic interest was nurtured by my father who taught me to hunt and fish, to carve in wood, to sit quietly in nature, to observe, and to immerse myself in the character of a wild creature.

Growing out of such experiences, I am committed to only working from life and spending my days with wonderful animals, observing their habits, learning their language, and studying their form, all in an attempt to convey with great passion, their grace and spirit.

My husband, Jesse, and I live on a farm in Pennsylvania surrounded by horses, dogs, cats, a herd of deer, and a muster of peacocks. We have the privilege to be the unofficial custodians of many wild creatures, one being a whitetail deer I named Gift.

Gift was orphaned after a tornado devastated the nearby woods. Once it became evident that his mother was not able to return to claim him, I took on the responsibility of learning to raise a baby deer on a bottle. Our intimate relationship granted me the ability to create Gift in Velvet and his female counterpart Spring Fling. I learned so much from Gift in the 17 years he shared with me. It was an incredible privilege and I truly miss him.

Our muster of peacocks is comical, elegant, vicious and beautiful. I had just started working on a life-size peacock, when my model, Nureyev, had an encounter with a raccoon in a tree and ended up in a heap on the ground with a broken leg. It was amazing to have Nureyev in my studio for three months while he recovered. I would keep my studio door open and his brother and sister would come in to visit him. Working from life in the studio was brilliant, but after he was healed he took up chasing cars!!

I am currently working on a monumental sculpture for a client, who sadly passed away. We shared such a passion for this project that I am driven to complete it.

I am always searching for a moment in time—always fleeting—that illuminates a creature’s very essence. I am passionate about capturing a moment that sings to me, one which both exemplifies and conveys how special that creature is and my profound love and respect for the wild.

Fellow of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art

National Sculpture Society

Society of Animal Artist

Audubon Society


©2018, all rights reserved, Rikki Morley Saunders