I’m fortunate to live in The Canadian Rockies, an area rich in wildlife, and home to some of the most majestic animals in the world. Bears, wolves, elk, and many more species are wandering the woods just down the street from my home.
I recently found myself inspired to do a series of wildlife paintings, but I wanted them to have personality and life to them. Something different, something fun. So this grizzly bear ‘portrait’ is the first in the series.
My close friends are well aware of the irrational fear of bears I’ve had for a number of years. I call it bear-anoia. Frankly, I’ve never understood it. I love bears, and always have, but found myself quite nervous about running into one while on a hike or out camping. There is a difference between being ‘bear aware’ as they say in these parts, and worrying that Yogi or Boo-boo is going to jump out from behind every bush doesn’t exactly enhance an excursion into the great outdoors.
I don’t like having phobias. I used to be claustrophobic, but I cured that by taking a couple of guided trips into the Rat’s Nest Cave in this area. Very tight spaces and no easy exit. Now, I can’t get enough of the place. So to deal with the bear thing last summer, I went the hypnosis route and it is now much less of a concern than it used to be. I think people should face their fears. It’s very liberating.
Following are some step-by-step screenshots. Click on the image to see it larger. It should be noted that I while I did sketch a few studies before painting this image, I didn’t scan the sketches and work directly from them. The painting was starting and finished completely in Photoshop.