I'm being inspired by bears we watched last spring in Waterton Lakes National Park. It was a wonderful chilly drizzly windy with periods of sunshine kinda week spent admiring the remote beauty as mountains drifted in and out of sight amongst rain clouds. I love Southern Alberta landscapes where the rolling hills blend up to the mountains. The exception being constant gusting wind everyday, the constant howl does tend to drive one a wee bit crazy after a while.
Though Grizzly were spotted at higher elevations we pretty much stayed to the lower levels aside from one bitter cold windy rainy afternoon at Cameron Lake. We partially hiked the lakeside trail looking for glacier lilies and thankfully found two of the yellow beauties not too far along the trail as we really were not prepared for the extreme wind chill so headed back to the boat rental place to warm up.
With the experience ingrained in my spirit and diverse reference photos to work from I composed a few more bear paintings after finishing "Watching the Hikers" Acrylic, on wrapped canvas, 16x24 inches
"Masked Cinnamon Bear in Wildflower Meadow"
Acrylic on wrapped canvas, 16x16 inches
I love the face of cinnamon bear as it was dark like a mask. I may at some point do a closer up view of its face but for these paintings the bears are in natural habitat and I want to maintain the impression of being viewed in the wilds, not close up photo-realistic as I tend to do. When out viewing we see form and shape and how light hits that form with contrasted dark shadow. Sometimes the animal is close enough and the light is just right to see their eyes but mostly not. Its more an experience. Excitement increases the adrenaline while almost silent exclamations escape the lips as we breathe out, all the while breathing in the moment, the beauty, the Wow of creation that we are but a tiny part of.
"Rocky Mountain Black Bear"
Acrylic on wrapped canvas, 10 x14 inchesThis bear had the most black glossy coat, so shinny and rich looking that I struggled to achieve the look I wanted to portray. Did I get it?
There is one more on the drawing board of a bear I called Saddle Blanket. We watched Saddle Blanket and his/her mom traverse across an open meadow grubbing for roots and bulbs one eve at dusk. The light was fast receding behind the mountain but we were able to watch them for about ten minutes through our camera lens before them ambled over the hilltop out of view. Yes I view distant wildlife through a 300 prime lens; sure wish I could afford a pair of quality binoculars but with limited funds I make do with what I have.