Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yellowstone Trips

In August and September I took two separate trips to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park as well as surrounding areas. I came away with tons of reference material of elk, grizzly bears, bison, pronghorns and numerous other animals. If you have never been, it is an incredible experience not only for the wildlife, but for the geological features as well.

One of the highlights from the first trip was seeing a grizzly bear up close. Normally, these cause huge traffic jams but it was right at first light and we had him all to ourselves for about 15 mins. as he lifted deadfall searching for insects as close as 20 yards at times. A car finally pulled up behind us as the bear sauntered off into the willows. The guy in the car looked intently to see what we were looking at but must not have seen him as he quickly drove off. He had no idea! I got some fantastic and unique photos that will inspire several paintings. I am trying to figure out how best to approach these shots to create a great painting that best captures the thrill of a grizzly bear encounter.

Above is a finished painting of the Lamar Valley titled Lamar Evening. I was trying to capture the essence of this valley where heards of bison, elk and pronghorn roam. Predators are attracted to the number of animals in this place as it harkens back to a day when there great herds of animals throughout our country. On this particular evening several flocks of Canada Geese lifted off the river and flew by.

Currently I have three paintings in the works from the trip - a coyote, a bull elk (the rut was in full swing in September) and a landscape of some aspens in front of the Tetons. I'll post them as soon as I finish them. Normally, I have posted the paintings as they have progressed, but each is far enough along now that I'll just wait until the finished product.

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