P.O.Box 527 - McRae - GA - 31055 Phone & Fax: 229-868-9820 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
B.L. Bruigom’s love of animals started as a young girl. She was always bringing home stray cats & dogs to take care of. Back in the early 1980’s she worked as a vet assistant throughout Long Island, NY, and The North Shore Animal League, Glen Cove, NY. Additionally she helped the vets of Suffolk County Animal Hospital when they would go to the Long Island area farms to do minor procedures (field procedures) on cows, horses, sheep, goats and pigs.
In 1992 she moved to Florida and met Captain Scott Smith while on a photographic trip aboard the Dream Too. Her dolphin encounters stayed with her and in 1998, knowing that Captain Scott was looking to do a book, approached him on joining the project. She presented a few stories of her dolphin encounters and other wildlife experiences. Captain Scott loved them and a great working relationship was formed. She is co-author of the book Dolphin Tales-True Stories of the Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, which won an award of excellence for a 4-color book at the 14th annual Florida Publishers Awards. B.L. Bruigom additionally assisted with the Animal Planet program Kindred Spirits as well as the second Japanese documentary, The Flow of Life.
When she is not writing or assisting Captain Scott, Barbara rescues wildlife. She is a well-known local wildlife photographer whose work has appeared on magazine covers, in many brochures, been auctioned for fund-raisers and used to accompany wildlife sanctuary newsletters.
In the summer of 1996 she began doing wildlife rescues for local sanctuaries and had her first exposure to panthers, bobcats, birds of prey, etc. Once established, she became more involved at the sanctuaries in the daily care of the animals. Eventually she started enriching their environment with toys, scents and things of interest to keep the animals stimulated. Barbara also assisted in the surgery and did education programs.
It was the closeness of these wildlife encounters that started her photographic career. Barbara has a special way with animals. There is a trust and a communication that astounds those who witness it. This trust has allowed her to get photos that others only dream of, photographs that win some very prestigious awards.
Baby Tiger Kate won the Kodak photo of the day award, as did her American Bald Eagle with flag background. Another area artist, Richard Tambor, was in love with the Baby Tiger Kate photo and did a magnificent 36x48 oil of her. In February 2005 Barbara won an award of excellence for her Blue/Gold Macaw from the National Photo Awards.
When asked about the addition of the oil paintings Barbara says, “unfortunately many people do not see photography as a fine art form so now I take my photos, combined with my intimate knowledge of these animals and am concentrating on a wildlife series of oil paintings. Unless working Plein Air, many painters and sculptors work from a combination of photos and drawings, you need a good subject base and I certainly have that!” Two stunning works are Black Leopard Benny and Canadian Lynx Simba. Like her work with the animals, she seems to have a natural talent for this medium and is turning out some very impressive oils.
Animals and wildlife have always been a very central part of Barbara’s life. This lead her to team up with other wildlife artist to help make the sanctuary everything it can be. In March 2005 Barbara moved to the very rural area of McRae, GA so this dream becomes a reality.
Back in 2003, while giving a lecture for a local Rotary Club meeting Barbara talked about a young female tiger desperately needing to be rescued. At that meeting was Wildlife Sculptor Kate VanNoorden who step up, donated the money needed and baby tiger Kate was soon at a local sanctuary. Obviously named for her generous benefactor!
As Barbara and Kate realized they had similar goals they began pooling their resources.