I'm excited to announce that my artwork "Stargazer" has been selected for the prestigious Mountain Oyster Art Show 2023! It's an incredible honor, and I'm thrilled to be part of this renowned Western art event. This is the 54th Annual Contemporary Western Art Show and Sale hosted by the Mountain Oyster Club. The opening weekend will be November 17-19th, at the historic Pond Mansion in Tucson, AZ, home to the Mountain Oyster Club.
The Story Behind "Stargazer”
"Stargazer" is more than just a portrait. It’s an expiration of color and light. The inspiration for this piece came from a photo I took at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ, the same city where the Mountain Oyster Club is located. While capturing this moment, I decided to play around with exposure. Even though the photo was taken mid-day, I decided to underexpose the image to create a shadowy effect. Utilizing a "correctly" exposed photo and an underexposed photo, along with a healthy dose of imagination, this painting emerged.
How to Purchase Art:
For prospective buyers interested in acquiring "Stargazer" or any other art pieces featured at the 54th Annual Mountain Oyster Club Art Show, you can contact Alisha Taylor, the Art Show Director, at email@example.com for inquiries.
Prospective buyers may also submit an intent to purchase form by mail. To complete the process, please send a check made payable to the artist along with the completed intent to purchase form to the following address:
Mountain Oyster Club
Art Show Intent to Purchase
6400 E. El Dorado Circle, Ste. C100
Tucson, AZ 85715
Join Me at the Mountain Oyster Art Show 2023:
If you’re able, I’d love for you to join us for the 54th Annual Mountain Oyster Art Show. Visit https://mountainoysterclub.com/show/2023-art-show-gallery/ for additional event details. It's a really cool opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich world of Western art and connect with other artists and art lovers.
Thank you to all of my collectors for your support on this incredible journey. It is such an honor and blessing to be an artist and you make it possible. If you plan to come out let me know!
Your ranch house is more than just a place to call home; it's a canvas for your personal style and a reflection of your unique taste. For Western folks, it's also often a reflection of our passions and unique lifestyles. In the quest to choose art for your house, there's also a really cool opportunity to pay homage to the Western tradition we know and love. Our timeless and rugged heritage holds a unique allure that transcends time. Whether you're a rancher, an enthusiast of Western aesthetics, or someone looking to capture the spirit of the American West in their home, embracing the Western style in your art selection can infuse your home with a captivating charm.
In my opinion, one of the most exciting and important considerations for Western decor is choosing the right art for your walls. As a Western artist, I often get asked how to choose art or decide what to commission when a client has a particular room in mind. This guide is here to help you with commissioning or selecting the perfect artwork for your ranch house.
1. Know Your House’s Style
One of the first things to keep in mind is the style of the house itself. Ranch houses, like Western folks, come in a lot of varieties. Does your house have a distinct architectural and interior design style? Are there regional influences? What materials and textures (wood, brick, etc.) stand out in your home? Beyond the style of the house itself, you also want to be aware of your own style. Do you lean toward a traditional, modern, rustic, or eclectic style? Whatever your style, the art you choose should complement it. Here’s a brief overview of styles and common art selections for each.
Traditional Ranch House:
For a traditional house consider classic landscape paintings, traditional Western-themed art, or vintage photographs. Even traditional styles can utilize more contemporary works of art. Colorful works with strong compositions on traditional Western themes, and add a pop of color and create variety while honoring the traditional aspects of your style. For a traditional style house, you can still go very contemporary with your art selection, if that is what appeals to you. The juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary can create a bold and eye-catching style!
Modern Ranch House:
For a more contemporary house with clean lines and minimalistic design elements, opt for art with strong simple compositions, contemporary sculptures, or photos with a modern, cowgirl-style flair. Typically with more modern designs you want to give each work of art space to stand alone. You may want to consider going really big with your art (as long as you have the space, of course). Don’t crowd too many pieces together. Purchase bold art that makes a statement and then let it have room to speak for itself.
Rustic Ranch House:
If your house has a rustic, country-inspired design, you may consider adding some folk art, woodcarvings, or wildlife-themed pieces that blend seamlessly with the rustic ambiance. Forest and mountain-themed art is also popular with rustic decor. Make sure to keep framing in mind. Old barnwood frames can be great for rustic decor as long as the frame isn’t competing with a barnwood wall.
Eclectic Ranch House:
If your home showcases a diverse blend of styles and influences, you have more creative license to explore a broad spectrum of art styles and media, spanning from mixed-media artworks to unconventional sculptures, and more. Bring in lots of bright colors, and textures, and let classic and contemporary works mingle. When going with a more eclectic style, you can put more works closer together. Just pay attention to the way all the pieces play on each other, you still want everything to flow and feel like it fits.
2. Collecting Work from an Artist
Collecting art from an artist you love is so much fun, and you are directly supporting that artist's business and enabling them to create more wonderful work- and, unlike art big box stores, your art collection can become more valuable! You have a few options for collecting work from an artist, each with different benefits.
First, you can purchase already created work from the artist, a gallery, or an exhibition. When you purchase existing work, you typically don’t have to wait long to take it home or have it shipped. You also get the benefit of seeing it already complete.
Second, you can purchase fine art reproductions. These are typically ready to take home or ship in a few days as well and can accommodate a lower budget. Get tips on collecting fine art reproduction here.
Third, you can commission an artist to create something specifically for you. An artist can use a photo(s) of your own animals, family, etc. to create a work that is a direct reflection of your life and what you love. Many artists shy away from commissions, but I love doing commissions. It is such an honor to create something extra special for a collector. Another benefit of a commission is that the work can be created with a specific space in mind!
Also read- Contemporary Western Art: Exploring the Fusion of Tradition and Innovation
3. Consider Color
Color is a major consideration for what art to put in your house and where to put it. The color of your wall can clash with a painting, or even drain it of its color. Ensure that the work you purchase compliments the room you plan to put it in. For example, you can purchase a painting that brings in existing colors from the room, or bring in a bright painting to brighten up a dark room. (You still need adequate lighting.) Color play can be complex, so when in doubt you can always reach out to the artist for help or advice. Don’t forget you can also add or switch out frames to help a piece fit the room better.
4. Showcase Local Landscapes
One of the most unique aspects of living in a ranch house is its spacious natural surroundings. Whether you're nestled in the rolling hills, surrounded by vast meadows, or situated near a mountain range, your art can reflect the beauty of your ranch's environment. Explore options such as landscape paintings, photographs capturing local scenery, or artwork featuring the native flora and fauna of your region. Choosing work that celebrates local elements further grounds your home in its surroundings.
5. Scale and Proportion
When selecting art for your ranch house, it's important to consider the size of the space you plan to display it. Large, open living areas often call for larger artworks or statement pieces that can fill the space and become focal points. In contrast, smaller, more intimate spaces may benefit from smaller art pieces or curated gallery walls. If you have a huge wall, don’t be surprised if a piece you thought was large seems much smaller. This is a great time to consider commissioning a piece directly from an artist so you can go extra large and get something that really makes an impact.
6. Choose Art That Resonates With You
Ultimately, the art you select for your house should resonate with you on a personal level. Art is a form of self-expression, and your home should reflect your individual tastes and interests. Don't feel pressured to conform to a specific style or trend; choose pieces that speak to you and evoke emotions. As Marie Kondo advises, ask yourself, “Does this spark joy.”
Also read - 5 Top Tips for Getting a Good Photo for Art Reference
7. Mix Styles and Mediums
While Western art is a natural fit for a home, don't be afraid to mix styles and mediums to add depth and interest to your decor. Consider incorporating contemporary art pieces, sculptures, or even rustic, handcrafted artworks to create a balanced and eclectic look. The key is to find a harmonious blend that resonates with your personal taste and complements your home’s overall style. Don’t forget about bringing in a variety of textures through textiles as well.
8. Showcase with Lighting
Show your art collection in its best light…well, by investing in well-thought-out lighting solutions, such as track lighting or picture lights, to effectively showcase your prized pieces. The right lighting can work magic, altering the perception and impact of your art.
With good lighting, you ensure that your carefully curated art collection takes center stage and commands the attention it truly deserves.
Also read- 6 Things To Demystify Fine Art Reproductions
9. Seek Professional Advice
If you're unsure about where to start or need guidance on selecting the right art for your home consider consulting with an interior designer who specializes in Western or rustic decor. They can help you navigate the world of art and make informed choices that align with your vision. If you want to purchase from a specific artist, you can always reach out to the artist for guidance. Most artists are excited to share their thoughts and expertise to make sure you get a piece that is just right.
10. A Special Note on Commissions
Commissions are an awesome way for you to get something made just for you. Commissions can be very special because they can feature your family, animals, land, etc. Working with an artist for a commission can be a lot of fun. You get to share your ideas and watch the artist's interpretation of them come to life. You don’t even have to have an idea! I’ve had clients email me about a specific space in their house and ask me to create something for the space, rather than painting from a photo(s) they provide.
When commissioning a work of art, ensure that you and the artist have a contract that clearly lays out all the details of the process, payments, and what to expect. This protects both you and the artist. You should not proceed without having a good contract in place.
If you are asking the artist to create something based on your photo(s) always try to provide the artist with clear, well-lit, high-quality images. While this may not be possible sometimes, it makes a huge difference in the artist's ability to accurately portray your special subject.
A Few Bonus Tips
Your ranch house is not just a place to live; it's a canvas for your individuality and a testament to the richness of Western living. In this guide, we've explored tips for selecting the perfect artwork for your home. Whether you opt for classic Western themes, contemporary pieces, or an eclectic blend of styles, the key is to choose art that speaks to you on a personal level. Trust your instincts, seek professional advice when needed, and create your dream home, with a well-curated selection of Western art.
Remember that the choices you make will not only enhance your home's aesthetics but also imbue it with the rich legacy of Western elegance. Your house is more than just a house; it's an expression of your passion, a tribute to tradition, and a reflection of the beauty that surrounds you.
In the vast and ever-evolving world of art, one intriguing and captivating movement that has gained significant prominence in recent years is contemporary Western art. This artistic genre encompasses a diverse range of styles, techniques, and subject matters that reflect the unique cultural and historical context of the Western world. It is a fusion of tradition and innovation and has become a captivating medium that explores the complexities and nuances of our modern society.
Also read- Top Five Tips to Start Your Western Art Collection
Contemporary Western art draws inspiration from both the traditional artistic heritage of the Western canon and the contemporary socio-political landscape. Artists working within this genre often incorporate classical techniques, such as oil painting and sculpture, while infusing them with new perspectives and experimental approaches. This fusion of old and new creates a dynamic visual language that engages viewers and challenges their perceptions.
One of the defining characteristics of this art is its ability to reflect the diverse narratives and multicultural influences that shape Western societies. By intertwining personal experiences with broader societal contexts, the artists create thought-provoking and emotionally resonant artworks that invite viewers to contemplate their own place in the world.
In addition to its thematic breadth, this art style also encompasses a wide range of stylistic approaches. From hyper realistic paintings to abstract sculptures, artists experiment with form, color, texture, and composition to convey their ideas and evoke emotional responses. This diversity of styles reflects the pluralistic nature of contemporary art and highlights the individuality and creative freedom embraced by artists working in this genre.
Also read- Tips for Getting a Good Photo
Contemporary Western art is not limited to the confines of galleries and museums. The genre has permeated public spaces, with murals, fashion, and more. By making art accessible to a broader audience, artists continue to showcase the West in new ways.
As we delve deeper into the 21st century, it is essential to embrace and appreciate the transformative power of contemporary Western art, recognizing its ability to inspire, provoke, and shape our understanding of the world around us.
Explore the available works by a contemporary artist, Megan Wimberley!
The two screenshots below are from the exact same video. The one on the left was posted on Instagram, and the one on the right was posted on TikTok. The only difference is the audio. The screenshot on the left has 10.2 K views. The screenshot on the right has only 15. I'm not sharing this to complain about algorithms, shadow banning, or any other suppression based complaints. I share this because I think it is such a great example of the fact that likes, follows, shares, and views are not a reflection of your worth as a human being, an artist, a mom, a dad, a rancher, or anything else you do or identify with.
You are a unique, one-of-a-kind beautiful soul. There is no one else in the world just like you, and no one else can offer the world exactly what you have. You are a beautiful badass and don't let any algorithm, online bully, or otherwise tell you that you aren't. Stand tall, look the world in the eyes, and embrace yourself and others with kindness and compassion.
I love you, you beautiful, rockstar of a human!
Most recommended for you- The Beginnings of a Bison Painting
This stage of a painting is always so much fun. Things happen REALLY fast and the instantaneous effects of big swaths of color are always exciting for me. It's a new beginning with endless possibilities.
Sometimes this stage of the painting calls to me, asking, "can't you leave me like this? Unapologetic, bold, and in your face." I seriously consider it sometimes. There is something about it that just feels true and unafraid. Of course, after seeing how this piece turned out it just doesn't even compare.
Recommended for you- Story Behind the Art: Bison Painting "Inner Light"
I think that is how life can be a lot of times. We might thing something seems good, or good enough, and we think we should just stop where we are. Moving forward courageously can produce some really great results and end with a beauty and deepness that we didn't know we could have. I don't know... it just seems to resonate with me in this moment. There is still beauty in the first part, as there is beauty in all the stages of our lives, but putting in the work sure does make a difference.
On the art side of this, I'm seriously considering a series of some sort with the blocky, pop-feeling paintings. We'll see what comes of it, but the creative juices are flowing. That's always something to be grateful for too!
Some things can be hard to write about because they are so beautiful that words aren't adequate. Some things are hard to write about because they are sad or tragic. Some things are hard to write about because they are the truth. The truth can be painful-- the truth can be painful to other people too. Sometimes the truth feels like a secret. Sometimes telling the truth feels like a betrayal. This post is a little bit of all of these things. This post will be hard to write.
Childhood Struggles and a Pivotal Decision
When I was about 5 years old my parents divorced. I lived primarily with my mom. There were a lot of challenges as I was growing up, but one of the biggest was that the second man my mom married was very mean. Just thinking about him as I write this, makes me feel a tightness in my chest, and the fight-or-flight hormones sweeping through my body. He was a bad man. He punched holes in the wall, beat our animals, and was physically, emotionally, and psychologically abusive. He also hugged, kissed, and sometimes touched my friends in ways that were not appropriate, but not inappropriate enough to identify.* He was a bad man.
While they were married there were times I wanted to move to my dad's, but my sister lived with my dad. I was afraid that if I moved too, my mom's husband would kill her and no one would be there to call the cops. As an adult, I wondered if this was just a child's imagination running wild. I didn't think so, but this type of situation is so confusing for children. As an adult, my mom told me that he tried to run her over with a tractor when they were going through their divorce. He was a bad man. He was mean. He blamed me for adult problems, he acted like I was the problem. This type of abuse undoubtedly created emotional wounds, trauma, and confusion.
They divorced right before I started high school. Home life after their divorce continued to be hard. I don't think I could write about this tumultuous time succinctly enough for this post, but suffice it to say that my mom did not have a stable foundation. She found new men, most of which were equally unstable and aggressive. She and I did not get along much of the time.
Recommended for you- Grizzly Bear Painting in the Works
A Brave Step Towards Freedom
I remember the day that I moved out. I was a senior in high school. During the school year, I went to school during the day and worked horses on a ranch after school until late evening. Sometimes I worked so late that I ate dinner at the ranch before heading home to do homework, shower, and get ready for school the next day. I was not home much, but I was responsible, worked hard, and made good decisions. On this particular day, I was eating dinner at the ranch. My mom called me angrily asking me where I was. I told her I was eating dinner. She began yelling at me that I needed to be home and help clean the house. An argument ensued. I remember at one point, suddenly feeling a strength and calm that I had never felt. I knew that I did not have to listen to someone yell at me. I very calmly said, "If you yell at me anymore I'm going to hang up the phone."
"Fine, hang up the phone," she yelled back. So I did. I texted her later that I would "be there the next day to pick up my stuff," and I was.
Recommended for you- Tips for Getting a Good
"Inner Light" - A Tribute to Compassion and Strength
After I moved out I had so many wonderful people help me in so many ways. My life has had some really really hard times, but I have been so blessed by the people who have helped and supported me along the way. People who have helped me far more than could have even been asked.
This painting, titled "Inner Light" is for two such people. My friend's parents who took me in gave me a room, fed me, took me on vacations, fixed my truck, and even helped me with my prom dress. I wrote a letter to go with this painting and I want to share part of it here because I think it is a good explanation about the piece.
"John, I think you were the first person to recognize that there was a sadness in my bison paintings. I wonder if it is because we both, in some ways, cherish the sadness we have experienced. Not that we put it on a pedestal and worship it, but we recognize that looking it full in the face provides some wisdom, some perspective, some compassion. Because looking away from sadness (our own or others) is cowardly. Some people try to run from sadness, some people try to ignore it... But life, in all its glory, can't escape loss and sadness.
I think people like us cherish it because we find the immensity of it grounds us in the world, a communion with humanity. Maybe sadness is about acceptance-- accepting what is, what can't be changed. But equally wise is to cherish our joy, to breathe in the good things in life with helpless abandon, and not tamper them down in anticipation of pain. I'm learning that within myself there is a power and strength that I never knew I had, and I think maybe that is because I'm learning to be brave with sorrow and with joy. I don't have to diminish them. This painting is titled "Inner Light." It is about finding a deepening of strength and wisdom in joy. It is about a holistic way of being that looks sadness and loss in the face while also enthusiastically celebrating happy, joyous things. It is about trusting one's self.
Vicki, most of my bison are female, and this one is no different. I often find them to be very motherly-- or a representation of good mothering. I suppose that is a bit of an ironic motif for my paintings-- maybe it is a way of mourning, and trying to create what I didn't have. So for you, this is a tribute to being "Mother," not just to Vanessa, but to all those who you have mothered-- and I know it is quite a few. Bison as "Mother" is a guardian, a keen and watchful eye. She is a protector and a provider. Thank you for being a "Mother" to me. Thank you for opening your heart and your home to so many who needed just that."
*Even though we couldn't fully identify what was happening our instincts told us it was wrong. We felt uncomfortable about it. We would talk to each other about it and would "rescue" each other from uncomfortable situations. Finally, we told adults, which did get it to stop.
When clients ask me to do a commission for them it is such an honor. One of the first steps to starting a commission is submitting a photo(s) to me to use as a reference. Sometimes clients already have several great photos to choose from, but sometimes they need to get a photo. Here you will find tips on taking and choosing the best photos to send for your commission.
1: In focus- It goes without saying that the photo should be in focus. The subject should be sharp and clear.
2: Lighting- Even lighting across the subject, especially their face is important. Uneven lighting can make it tricky to identify colors, patterns, and face shape. Sometimes shadowy light can help create a more moody image, but generally it is best to have even lighting.
3: Pose and facial expression- Generally you want to pick an image where your pet looks happy, calm, and engaged. Think a photo of your dog looking up at you versus pulling on a the leash with wild eyes. If the commission is only the head and neck the body does not matter as much. If you are commissioning a full body painting, make sure your furry friend is in a position that looks comfortable and natural.
4: Perspective- Perspective can totally change the feel of a photo. Imagine a photo taken from above of your dog laying down. How much different would it feel if you get down on the floor and
Also read- Oakhurst Fall Festival, Artober, and Sierra Art Trail
5: Taking your own photos- When taking your own photos make sure you have good light. Outdoors a little after dawn, or before dusk, when the light is still soft is great. Overcast days are also fantastic to shoot mid day. Current phones take great photos so it is unlikely you will need special equipment to get a good shot, unless you are trying to get an action shot. Action shots are much harder to get sharp images, and the right timing. If you are wanting to try and get an action shot on a phone, you might try making a video and taking several screen shots.
If you aren't taking an action shot (and even if you are do a few of these as back up), pose your furry friend in a natural position. Then consider the angle you will shoot from. Dogs and cats can look very cute when looking up at the camera. Try several angles to see what you like best.
If your pet won't look at you try making a high pitched squeaky sound, meowing, whining like a dog, showing them a treat or toy, or gently shaking a bucket of grain.
Be patient. Some animals can be harder to photograph than others. Take your time over a few days. Experiment with trying to pose and photographing them and just catching them when they are resting or playing. For very hyper and distractible dogs make sure to give them a lot of exercise and a chance to calm down. Photograph them during the time of day they are usually most calm, and don't take them somewhere with a lot of excitement.
There are instances where clients are unable to get better photos because their pet has passed. In these instances clients submit several photos and I utilize all of them to capture the animal from multiple images. Of course, this is more challenging, so this is only used when necessary.
Prints vs. Reproductions
prints are made by a printmaker by transferring an impression from one surface to another. Reproductions are when a visual artist creates a scan or photo of their work and has it printed. The printed piece is called a reproduction.
Giclée reproductions are made using a printer that sprays pigment onto the surface. This results in a clear, high quality image, with no pixelation. High quality reproductions should also be made on a high quality, acid free surface. I use Hahnemühle Photo Rag®, which is a white cotton paper with a soft feel and lightly textured finish.
Make sure you the reproduction you are purchasing is a limited edition. The smaller the run to more valuable it is. Obviously if only 200 people can have something it is a lot more valuable than if 5,000 people can have it.
Recommended for you- Ethics in our Public Lands
Markings to look for
Make sure the artist has signed the reproduction itself. This should be done with pencil or sometimes with an acid free ink. The print number and edition size should also be written on the reproduction. That looks something like this "5/300" (fifth print in an edition of 300). The smaller the edition the better, and the lower the print number the better.
Sometimes a reproduction will say "AP" before the number. This means that it is an "artist proof." Artist proofs are used by the artist to guarantee quality. There are very few of these printed so being an artist proof increases the value. Artist may also include the title of the piece on the reproduction.
Hand embellished reproductions
This is when an artist draws in the margins, or actually goes back onto the reproduction to add drawings, paint, etc. to the reproduction. Having a hand embellished element increases the value of a reproduction.
open edition is when an artist does not limit how many reproductions they will create. It is not advisable to purchase these for collecting as the value is decreased significantly. These are often created on lower quality paper or as posters.
I hope this information helps you understand how to get high quality reproduction that will retain or grow in value. If you have any questions let me know in the comments. And definitely check out thelimited edition reproductions I have available.
February in Yosemite brings with it the chance at a brilliant display of light and color. If El Cap's "Horsetail Falls" is flowing well and the sky is clear, the sun will be at just the right angle to transform the look of the waterfall into lava. This naturally occurring phenomenon lasts for about 10 days.
The event, called "Firefall," draws people by the thousands into a fairly small area, often causing irreversible damage to delicate areas. In 2017, for example, a riverbank collapsed due to the stress from visitors.
These problems are not unique to special events. We see this type of damage done in other areas, such as protected meadows, where people ignore signs and walk over fences. Visitors often damage vegetation, increase erosion, and leave behind trash and even human waste.
I've been shocked at how often I see human waste, poopy toilet tissue, and baby diapers left on the side of the trail. Besides the complete lack of etiquette and respect for other visitors, this is damaging to the environment and dangerous to wildlife. I think people, for the most part, know better. This behavior, I believe, comes from a sense of entitlement, ill-preparation, and sometimes ignorance. Often, people simply choose to believe that the rules don't apply to them. Much of the damage could be mitigated by people coming prepared, knowing the rules, and following posted signs.
Because of the damage and disrespect I see so frequently, I find myself feeling the tension between the belief that public lands are for all to enjoy, and the desire to protect these special places. The belief that beautiful spaces should be shared, and the knowledge that beautiful places are often fragile.
Before the internet you had to work hard to gain the knowledge to get to some of these hidden gems or infrequent occurrences. Now, all it takes is a beautiful photo and an instagram post and the next thing you know that special place or event requires law enforcement, permits, and regulations. What was once felt like an expansive communion with nature now feels like Wal-Mart on Black Friday.
Recommended for you- Oakhurst Fall Festival, Artober, and Sierra Art Trail
There is a tragedy to it all. On the one hand you want everyone to be able to have that experience, but on the other hand, bringing everyone into that experience innately changes it. The best case scenario is that the change is limited to the bustle of a crowd drowning out your other sensations; but more often the change is irreversible damage to truly unique places. Because of this, I don't always include all the information about where or when a photo is taken.
Artists and photographers need to take some time to grapple with the role we play in the destruction of special spaces; both in the creation and sharing of our work. I can't tell you where you need to land on this matter, but I can tell you unequivocally that there is an ethic involved and coming to a nuanced and thoughtful understanding of your ethic is important.
In saying all of that, I did not plan on sharing the photos above because they are of a rare "Firefall" event in October of which many people where unaware. I went out with two of my photographer friends (Brittany Colt and Anna Smits) a couple nights in a row, and on the second night we got to experience the splendor that is Horsetail Falls turned gold.It was only the three of us, and a handful of other people. After the waterfall turned a cool grey we began to pack up our things. We all agreed that we would not share our photos until a later time. We would not give information about when the event was, "just let them think it was February." The sentiment, let's not go for the viral social media post, let's protect our land, let's protect the sacredness of this moment, let's live in the magic of now and not the chaotic rush of the digital realm.
And that's what we did... for a couple of days. But before we knew it someone else had posted a photo and it was picked up by news outlets, so it seemed pointless to wait.
There is a sadness to it.
That one moment,
under the trees,
the river flowing steadily.
Greys and blues
turning to gold,
as if the waterfall itself
was creating light.
It may never be again.
In Yosemite we have black bears; which do, by the way, come in several colors including brown. This guy is a grizzly. Grizzly bears are usually much larger, have shorter ears, and a hump on the shoulders.
Before European colonialists arrived and began killing grizzlies en mass, they were once found across much of western North America, and sometimes even into the plains ares. "Grizzly bears perhaps numbered 70,000 individuals when Europeans first arrived. In contrast to the Native Americans, who coexisted with grizzly bears for many thousands of years, European settlers slaughtered every bear they could find. In just 150 years, humans shot, trapped or poisoned 98% of the grizzly bears in the lower 48 states." (Grizzly Times) Today the range of grizzlies extends through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington State, Canada, and Alaska. Here in Yosemite there were once grizzlies, but the last known grizzly in Yosemite was shot in 1895 at Crescent Lake. Of course, grizzlies are popular residents in Yellowstone.
Also read- Top 5 Tips to Start your Western Art Collection
This particular painting is based on a photo I took of a grizzly at the San Diego Zoo. While I was photographing this bear one of the tour buses drove by, and I heard the guide say that the two grizzlies at the zoo were brothers from Yellowstone. Their mother had been teaching them bad habits as cubs (i.e. getting into human food) that would put them in danger, so they were placed with the zoo.
I've said this a lot, but it is worth repeating. Follow the rules for food storage and animal safety when you visit national parks. What seems like a magical moment to you often put the wildlife in danger. Bears that get used to getting human food (whether purposefully or not on the humans part) often become a danger to humans and have to be euthanized. What for you was a cool TikTok, for a bear might mean death, or at best captivity. Don't be selfish take care of our shared spaces and their inhabitants.
Check out this video about the history of bear management in the national parks: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/grizzlybear.htm