Happy Wednesday! My apologies that I haven’t been posting lately. I was lucky enough to work with a team at Toonbox Entertainment on a new feature film that took up almost all of my time. Contractual obligations prevent me from saying anything about it (really, I can’t say anything or post any of my work until the movie starts to get marketed!) but it was great fun.
What little time I did have was consumed by a recent passion of creating pastel paintings of Bison. After a 150 year absence, the prairie bison have been re-introduced into Banff National park and I’ve been creating pieces to commemorate that. Here’s a quick sample from my Instagram feed:
Finally, I did a little re-design and freshen up of the site. Anyway, I’ll be back at it with more crazy family sketches. See you soon!
“For me, the cold is no problem. I know I have a shorter, stocky body but it conserves my heat and my long legs can move easily through the snow. But in the spring and summer, I can’t stand the bugs. Oh the bugs! Honestly, I’ll run for kilometres to escape the pesky things. Worse than wolves they are.”
Here’s another cool fact about Kate and her kind – she’s unique among the deer family in that both male and females grow antlers. Betcha didn’t know that! She’ll put them to good use foraging for food in the snow and ice and they’re great for giving a friend a back scratch – or so she tells me anyway.
It was a challenge getting this big fella to sit long enough to paint him.
“I’m born to graze man, I gotta be free!”, he said more than once. Indeed this mighty beast eats continuously as he roams vast distances across grasslands. Ecologically extinct throughout most of their historic ranges, Bob and his buddies are looking forward to a move to Banff National Park soon.
“The grass there is delicious , or so Dennis tells me , so yeah I’m looking forward to the move. Good thing I travel light cause I hate packing.” We look forward to having you Bob.
“Do you know why we’re called Mule Deer?” she demurred.
“No.” I replied.
“Well, we’re named for our ears which are large like a mule but I can assure you that is where our similarities end for I’m far less belligerent and not nearly as long in the face.”
Indeed you’re not Stephanie. With that attentive expression, those soulful eyes and the fact that you’re a great conversationalist, you made this portrait sitting one to remember.
Despite my repeatedly asking if Viktor good give me just a hint of a smile, or to face me so that I could capture the full majesty of his flared facial ruff, he was having none 0f it. He sat, still as a statue, eyes fixed on a National Geographic documentary about hares that was running in the background. Intense? Ahhhhh… yeah, you could say that.
“Don’t paint me with the gap in my teeth, I’m getting it fixed tomorrow.” My apologies but there is more to this national icon than just choppers. Ron is the hardest working, most devoted and dedicated professional to his craft in the entire animal kingdom. Successful, generous, humble – he’s the complete package. And his friendship? Second to none (just ask Sherman). A commitment from a beaver is like money in the bank and Ron is the world’s Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Gweer settled on flashing her coy smile but this Alpha is anything but shy. A powerful momma who keeps her pack under careful watch she is that rare breed who exudes empathy and understanding while also being the funniest darn canine you’ll meet. (She’s got some X-rated jokes that’ll make your eyes water). You’ve got to be on your toes around this one as her intelligence and wit won’t suffer fools gladly, but give her a well placed scratch just under her neck scruff and you’ll have a friend for life. I’d howl at the moon with this one till the end of time.
“Paint me looking really friendly because I’m doing my friendly face.” – Sandro
Well, I gave it my best shot. I also tried to help dispel the myth that Bald Eagles are bald, painting you with a healthy mass of feathers on top of your noggin. Despite the final expression we all know you’re really just a big softie and one of the nicest carnivores soaring the skies of beautiful Banff National Park.
Dave is an irascible little fellow who packs the biggest punch in the park and he did NOT want to have his portrait painted. However, when he found out that Gary and sat down for one he did not want to one-upped by the old grizzly so he suffered through it. That look I captured was right before he ate a set of my paints.
As “aerial insectivores” go, Olive here is one of the goodies. The Olive-sided flycatcher is a plucky little bird that perches in snags and swoops into forest openings to catch insects on the wing (that’s mid-air for us non-biologists). Her fate is closely tied to our friend Jim’s however, a species at risk, which might explain why the two of them and their buddy Anne can often be heard in Banff National Park partying it up on Saturday nights singing “Quick Three Beers”. Swoop on Olive, swoop on.