Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Red Cloud

Red Cloud is quite an impressive creature. I had never been up close to a bison before, and had always thought of them as more or less a big cow. Well, they may be in the same family, but they are certainly not a cow. They seem to have a personality, and although he is big, he has kind eyes, and seems somewhat friendly. I wasn't deluded into believing he wasn't dangerous, but he appeared much more friendly than the ranch's other dominant male Crazy Horse.

Funny thing about bison, is they are very watchful, and as I sat sketching them, I found that they were all facing and watching me. Who was studying who? I have never observed any group of animals do this, and it was quite eerie. What impressive creatures they are. The only megafauna to survive the last ice age. Standing near them convinced me that they are tough as any creature on earth. The hump on their backs belays the power they can generate, and the size of the head is what amazed me the most. Unlike cows and farm animals, they have no need for a barn, or shelter, and can survive just fine in the open outdoors. They do stand shoulder to shoulder and face the wind together, as they have very thick hair on their heads, and they conserve their body heat.

Perhaps they are an example for humans to follow. Perhaps if we stood shoulder to shoulder and faced the winds together, the world would be a much different place.

This painting was inspired by Red Cloud. It is 8 by 10 inches, oil on cardboard canvas. I also used amber varnish, in the paint. It is thin in the darks and impasto in the lights.

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