What I See When I Paint Bison

bison at night

I painted the series of Bison or Buffalo because they fascinate me and I love watching them. I spent time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks during the four seasons of the year and studied their behavior. I took pictures that I would later use as reference for their anatomy and movements while painting in my studio.

I started working on the series after the harsh winter of 1996 when so many of the Buffalo were killed looking for forage outside Yellowstone National Park. I wanted to somehow help by celebrating their beauty. I chose mixed media to portrait the beautiful Bison because the texture of exotic papers combined with the opacity of gouache–a type of water medium–gave the animal’s complex body a bigger dimension. It accentuated the unique combination of wildness, power and grace. The Buffalo is on the Wyoming flag. It is the state animal, symbol of the West.