My talented wildlife photographer friend, Brad Schwarm, is amazing. He shared with me a photo reference that he calls his “Rembrandt Fox”. How could he have known that Rembrandt is one of my heroes. Both Brad and I liked how this fox’s tender presence and piercing gaze seems to emerge from the darkness. The title came from the fox in the children’s classic, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
This painting was the last addition to my collection for my 2018 South East Wildlife Exposition portfolio. At the time, it was January in Jackson Hole. What a joy to just red and orange paint when, for months, all we had seen in our winter landscape was tones of white and blue! I combined careful drawing of these hummingbird form with the loose suggestions of the flowers.
Some images lend themselves to rich texture of oil paint, while others call for the light feel of watercolor. This fox, with its aliveness, soft fur and vitality seems to just ask to be rendered in the wash-y, spontaneous medium of watercolor. It took a number of preliminary sketches and renditions of this fox before I had enough understanding of its form to the confidence to dash it off in a process that doesn’t allow for erasing!
I have wanted to paint this painting for a long time. It was inspired by a photo taken by my friend, Mary Kate, when we were on a sunrise float of the Snake River in 1993. I was so happy how it captured what I loved about that time on the river – the brightness of the early morning light that suddenly enchanted the sleepy river corridor.
Who doesn’t love lily pads?! I certainly am a big fan! I painted this painting of lily pads on String Lake during the 2018 Plein Air for the Park event. I was so grateful to find what seemed like a wonderfully set water still life! And lucky for me, it was close enough to the shore to access the view, but in order to do so, I had to balance my easel on two logs that extended over the water while I placed a foot on each log. One false step would land me in the drink! I think this balancing act kept the painting fresh and not over-worked because I didn’t have that luxury! I enjoy the way this painting has an interplay of form and abstraction. I also like the harmony of color.
This painting has the best story of the year! It, too, was painted during the Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational. My ambitious artist friend, Jennifer L. Hoffman wanted to paint the moon setting in Lamar Valley. The necessitated that we get a very early morning start to be on location and set up before daybreak. As we were painting this view, Jen noticed that a distant ‘rock’ had started moving. The rock turned out to be a wolf who was soon joined by nine others in the pack. It was extraordinary to be the only ones watching them across the valley. By the time the sun rose, they were gone.