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Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 10:50 UK
Anglesey wildlife artist and creationist Philip Snow

A red squirrel and woodpecker, by Philip Snow
Conservationists hope Anglesey will eventually be free of grey squirrels

Acclaimed Anglesey wildlife artist Philip Snow will be sharing some of his trade secrets this weekend.

And his decades of studying nature have not shaken his belief in creationism and intelligent design.

As a keen supporter of Anglesey's bid to become an haven for red squirrels, he'll be at the new Red Squirrel Information Centre in Beaumaris, giving tips on how to spot and paint these elusive creatures.

But after 30 years of studying birds and mammals, Philip has come to the conclusion that their existence is no accident of nature.

"I believe in Darwin's work, but not his final conclusion that everything evolved because of blind chance from slime," he said.

"I accept that things can adapt and change, that's natural selection, but I don't think everything came from a big bang. That's just as much a faith as mine.

"There's no way a dinosaur blindly evolved into a bird by changing its scales for feathers. This is an incredible design, and for that, you need a designer."

Citing a study by Welsh geologist Derek Ager, Philip explained how a layer of limestone rock in Ogmore-on-Sea which is traditionally believed to have been formed over five million years could, in fact, have been created over a few hours.

Red kite, by Philip Snow
Philip has work on show at Pensychnant Reserve, Conwy

"When Mount St Helens in North America erupted, it formed 700ft cliffs in a day," he said. "Once you take out radioactive dating, which is very unreliable, and realise how fast rock forms, there's no conflict between what I believe and what happens in the natural world."

In his book The Design and Origin of Birds, Philip argues that all creatures were created in essentially the same form and families as they are today, but they have the ability to adapt to changes: become fatter or thinner, darker or paler, larger or smaller.

"This ability to change is programmed in," he explained. "There's no new genetic information, it's just been reshuffled.

"The DNA of a jellyfish has never changed - it was never more or less simple than it is now. There hasn't been evolution, just variation."

When Philip looks at a kingfisher swooping over a river, he marvels at how God created it.

"They're brown, not blue and red at all," he said. "But it's feathers have tiny photonic crystals on them which split white light into colour and maintain a blue wavelength. That's got to have been thought of in advance."

In his latest book, he touches upon the environmental impact man is having on the world.

"Tall Tales from an Estuary is narrated by Howell, a grey heron who lives on the Malltraeth estuary," explained Philip.

Otters, by Philip Snow
Some creationists believe the world was created on 23 October, 4004BC

"It's called tall tales because he's a tall bird, and also because he's listening to the tales of migrants we get here from all over - the Arctic to the Antarctic.

"They're telling Howell their tales of migration, and the changing landscape they see, like the widening of the deserts because of climate change."

Philip believes in studying an animal in the wild as much as possible before painting and also studies dead birds.

"They're incredibly useful to learn more about the nuts and bolts," he said.

He travels light, preferring to use watercolours and pencil when visiting favourite wildlife locations.

"The Newborough Forest is great for the red squirrel," said Philip. " The Spinnies nature reserve near Penrhyn Castle is a good place to see birds in general, though the star of the show around here is South Stack ."

Philip Snow will be teaching wildlife painting and how to attract red squirrels into your garden at the Red Squirrel Information Centre in the Forum café/gallery, 6 Church Street, Beaumaris, on Saturday, 5 June, 11am to 4pm.

Red squirrels 'thrive on island'
19 Apr 10 |  North west



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