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Desert Skins
Desert Skins_Dave and Zebra-tailed Lizard.jpeg

Desert Skins is a series of watercolor portraits of Arizonans morphed with their favorite local reptile. This work is about connecting to people in the community and honoring the beautiful reptiles of Arizona. 

 

I love reptiles. They are beautiful, colorful and fun to watch. Their skin is wonderfully adapted to our desert climate. Watching a lizard sun itself on a rock in July heat, makes me yearn for tougher skin and cooler blood. Although these creatures are a special part of the desert ecosystem, many people fear them. Research shows that this fear is hardwired into our brains as a way of avoiding potentially poisonous animals. This fear also makes reptiles misunderstood and targets for cruelty. 

 

My goal is to counter this fear and highlight their beauty. By asking people to pick a favorite reptile, I encourage them to take a closer look at Arizona reptiles and look for one that appeals to them. A portrait is an intimate endeavor. By looking deeply at a person's face and an animal’s skin, I feel a tenderness toward them and an appreciation for their being a part of my world. The work represents my fantasy of belonging to this desert landscape in an essential, physical manner with tougher skin to protect from the harsh elements. 

 

-Laura Milkins

Felicia and Round-tailed Horned Lizard
Felicia and Round-tailed Horned Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Tanu and Ornate Tree Lizard
Tanu and Ornate Tree Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Misha and Regal Horned Lizard
Misha and Regal Horned Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Monica and Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard
Monica and Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Ramon and Regal Horned Lizard
Ramon and Regal Horned Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Rafiki and Variable Groundsnake
Rafiki and Variable Groundsnake

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Julia and Gila Monster
Julia and Gila Monster

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Grady and California Kingsnake
Grady and California Kingsnake

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Mari and Mexican Rosy Boa
Mari and Mexican Rosy Boa

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Danielle and California Kingsnake
Danielle and California Kingsnake

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Mary and Greater Earless Lizard
Mary and Greater Earless Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Nate and Western Banded Gecko
Nate and Western Banded Gecko

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Alexandra and Western Banded Gecko
Alexandra and Western Banded Gecko

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Emily and Zebra-tailed Lizard
Emily and Zebra-tailed Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Saundra and Eastern Collared Lizard
Saundra and Eastern Collared Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Penelope and Mexican Gartersnake
Penelope and Mexican Gartersnake

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Lyz and Mountain Kingsnake
Lyz and Mountain Kingsnake

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Michelle and Eastern Collared Lizard
Michelle and Eastern Collared Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Erin and Regal Horned Lizard
Erin and Regal Horned Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Debra and Sonoran Desert Tortoise
Debra and Sonoran Desert Tortoise

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Dave and Zebra-tailed Lizard
Dave and Zebra-tailed Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Erik and Gila Monster
Erik and Gila Monster

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Rae and Tiger Whiptail
Rae and Tiger Whiptail

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Jane and Gila Monster
Jane and Gila Monster

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Lindsey and Sonoran Coralsnake
Lindsey and Sonoran Coralsnake

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Doug and Eastern Collared Lizard
Doug and Eastern Collared Lizard

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Michele and Mountain Skink
Michele and Mountain Skink

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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Tracy and Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
Tracy and Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake

2021-22, watercolor on paper, 9x12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm)

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