Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yellowstone as Painting Inspiration

 Here are two recent paintings that were inspired by my trips to Yellowstone  - a buffalo and grizzly painting hot off my easel and ready to go.

Top Buffalo memory from Yellowstone -
That day the buffalo were wandering in the meadows beyond the river. They were grazing and resting in groups with the occasional bull prodding them to move. It was September and the bulls are aggressive as they are full into the rut - their mating season. Cows quietly grazed while the bulls grunted and chased each other. The various groups mixed and mingled.  The calves were no longer small but had filled out to be a good size ready for winter. It is always interesting to just watch these iconic creatures.
Then I had an incredible encounter with a big bull. I could hear it coming through the bush, snorting and huffing as it broke small trees and branches.  It stamped its feet and it stepped out of the trees in front of me with just an open trail between us. We had a tense moment when he first saw me.  I stood still, we stared at each other  for a long minute before he decided that I was not a threat. He brutalized a small tree just to make his point and then moved  on. Standing quietly I took a few photos as he moved back into trees. They turned out to be terrible photos but it was an experience I will remember not in the least because it was foolish of me to be that close to a bull in rut.

This particular painting is from a far more peaceful meeting with a shedding buffalo in the spring.

Here also is my painted account of my meeting with a Yellowstone grizzly. He had just swam the river and wandered the far side allowing me to study him in relative safety. I kept pace with him on my side of the river for a short time, took photos and truly enjoyed seeing him.