In his travels to some of the wildest parts of the state and for all the majestic sights that have been made immortal by his pen and brush, it is what he can't see that serves as the motivation for artist Erik Holland.
More and more, as Holland looks toward the night sky, it is the lack of stars that drives him to help preserve the wilderness of Nevada.
"One of the things we are going to lose in Nevada is our dark nighttime skies," Holland said. "If you go east of Fallon, you can see the stars, but we will lose that if we keep building these firefly subdivisions."
To help preserve wilderness, Holland has spent the last year traveling with representatives from the Nevada Wilderness Project to areas the organization is hoping to have designated legal wilderness, the highest level of protection available to public land, and sketching or painting them.
"We have been to some amazing places on these trips, like Big Den Canyon, when we were walking through 4 feet of snow so steep that we had to leave our snowshoes behind," Holland said.
In the past year, Holland has been all over the state looking for landscapes to paint. He has rendered paintings from Gold Butte in Southern Nevada, Big Den Canyon in the Desatoya Range, Bald Mountain in Lyon County and the Eastern Shell Creek Range.
Now, Holland is showing those paintings in an exhibit titled "From Tahoe to Tonopah II." He will be donating 50 percent of the proceeds from each painting to the Nevada Wilderness Project to support their efforts to keep the state wild.
To date, the Nevada Wilderness Project has spearheaded three campaigns resulting in more than 2 million acres of wilderness being set aside. More than 84 percent of the protected wilderness in the country is in Nevada, according to the project.
But Holland's association with the group began not with his brush, but with his legs. In 1999, he volunteered to help raise awareness and get support for the project's mission. Now he hopes the exhibit will become an annual event and serve as a source of additional funding for those working to preserve Nevada's wilderness.
In addition to his work for the project, Holland is also preparing another show at a gallery in Nevada City, Calif., that he hopes to complete sometime next year. In the meantime, Holland will continue to serve as the Sunday cartoonist for the Nevada Appeal.
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
If you go
What: Reception for artist Erik Holland's wildlife paintings to benefit the Nevada Wilderness Project
Where: Patagonia Outlet, 8850 White Fir St., Reno.
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. Thursday. The art will be on display and sold until Nov. 27.